Walmart is now requiring all US employees to wear face masks and will encourage customers to wear them while shopping
Walmart will require all US employees to wear face masks starting on Monday. The company will also encourage customers to wear masks or other facial coverings while shopping. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Walmart will require all 1.5 million of its United States employees to wear face masks starting Monday, the company said in a memo sent to stores late Friday. "We will begin requiring that associates wear masks or other face coverings at work," said the memo, which was sent by Walmart US CEO John Furner and Sam's Club CEO Kath McLay. "This includes our stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, as well as in our corporate offices. We'll also be encouraging customers and members to wear face coverings when they shop with us." The memo said employees would be permitted to bring their own face masks to work, as long as they meet certain guidelines. The company will also provide workers with masks. "We hope this step will promote safety and consistency across all of our facilities and be of comfort to our customers and members," the memo said. Read the full memo: Throughout this pandemic, your health and well-being has been our top priority. It was just over a month ago that we announced our COVID-19 emergency leave policy, and since then, we have taken more steps to protect you, our customers and our members with the guidance of our state and local public health officials, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as our company's own Chief Medical Officer. Today, we are sharing another step: We will begin requiring that associates wear masks or other face coverings at work. This includes our stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, as well as in our corporate offices. We'll also be encouraging customers and members to wear face coverings when they shop with us. We have evolved our policy on face coverings from optional to mandatory as public health guidance has shifted. The CDC now recommends wearing face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, to help curb the spread of the virus. Although most state and local governments do not mandate the use of face coverings in public settings, the CDC has reported that recent studies show a significant portion of individuals with the virus lack symptoms and can transmit the virus. With this knowledge, we believe it is simply in everyone's best interest to use masks or face coverings to curb the spread of this disease. Starting Monday, you'll be required to wear a face covering at work. You can provide your own as long as it meets certain guidelines, or we will provide you with one as you pass your associate health screen and temperature check. We're also aware there may need to be exceptions to this policy based on local laws and individual health needs. We hope this step will promote safety and consistency across all of our facilities and be of comfort to our customers and members. However, it's important to remember that face coverings are simply an additional health precaution. They do not guarantee against the spread of this virus, and they do not replace the most important steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe: 6-20-100. Whether at work or elsewhere, practice six feet of social distancing whenever possible. Regularly wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds. And if you have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, stay home. We're also announcing today that we are extending our emergency leave policy through the end of May to ensure you have the support you need when you have to miss work. Thank you for your commitment to helping ensure Walmart and Sam's Club are safe places to work and shop. Together, we are providing a critical service for communities across the country. During this extraordinary time, our customers and members need us more than ever. Thank you for being there for them and each other.SEE ALSO: Costco, Walmart, and Target are barred from selling items like clothing and toys in some parts of the US. Here's what's considered 'nonessential' and where. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
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The WHO just released specific mask guidance for kids as they gear up to return to school: children 12 and older should wear them as adults do
The World Health Organization just released guidance on whether kids should wear masks. It's broken down...The World Health Organization just released guidance on whether kids should wear masks. It's broken down into age groups: kids older than 12 should wear them, kids younger than 6 shouldn't, and for kids in between, it depends on a handful of factors. Mask-wearing has been a point of confusion for parents, since children don't tend to get intense coronavirus symptoms, but are nonetheless getting infected in huge numbers. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. As kids across the country gear up to return to school, the World Health Organization released long-awaited guidance on whether they should wear masks. It's been a point of confusion for parents amid the coronavirus pandemic since most kids get mild symptoms, but nearly 100,000 tested positive at the end of July, according to the Mayo Clinic and American Academy of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Association. There's also the inflammatory syndrome associated with coronavirus infections, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that's killed at least 10 children in the US. The WHO brought together a multidisciplinary group to evaluate coronavirus transmission in children, which released three recommendations on August 21 for mask-wearing depending on their precise age group, a document shows. Read more: The best and worst face masks, ranked by their level of protection Notably, the WHO said that children aged five years and under shouldn't be required to wear masks. That's based on the overall interest of the kid, including "psychosocial needs" and the fact that they're not able to use masks without a lot of assistance. For kids between age six and 11, mask use should depend on this handful of factors, the WHO said: Local infection rates Their ability to use masks safely Access to masks, like if they can be replaced and cleaned Adequate adult supervision The impact of mask-wearing on psychological development; for this factor, parents should consult with teachers, caregivers, or medical providers Their exposure to the elderly and folks with underlying health conditions, who have a high risk of contracting serious coronavirus symptoms Finally, those who're at least 12 years old should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults. Meaning masks should be worn outside when it's not possible to stay more than 6 feet away from people, and inside shops, public transport, and other crowded venues, the WHO said in June. That was largely before mask-wearing became politicized in the US, but public health officials are on the same page that cloth face coverings can reduce the spread of the disease that's now killed more than 175,000 people. Read more: 'I really don't care, do U?': How the act of refusing to wear a mask became the new symbol of American fear In a Missouri hair salon, as one anecdotal example provided by the CDC, two stylists contracted coronavirus and developed symptoms, continuing to see customers prior to their diagnoses. But everyone wore masks inside the salon, and investigators couldn't find a single client who became infected despite the intimate nature of cutting and styling hair. Still, masks are not a silver bullet. People tend to be less careful when they wear masks, the CDC said in June. Masks, however, need to be washed, left alone while in use (you can infect yourself by touching your face), and worn in addition to other safety precautions like maintaining physical distance from others. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
A number of large retailers have said that all customers must wear masks, but some employees...A number of large retailers have said that all customers must wear masks, but some employees have been told they cannot force those who refuse.
Walmart won't enforce its own rules on mask-wearing because it fears staff could be attacked by shoppers angry at being challenged
People who refuse to wear a face mask will be served in Walmart — and many...People who refuse to wear a face mask will be served in Walmart — and many other stores — despite it having imposed new mask rules, according to a CNN report. On July 20, Walmart began requiring masks to be worn in all its stores, as coronavirus cases spike again in many parts of the US. However, to avoid a "physical confrontation," staff have been instructed to serve people who refuse to wear one anyway, Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia told Business Insider. Home Depot, Lowe's, CVS, and Walgreens will also serve people refusing to wear them, according to CNN. Mask acceptance is increasing, but there have been several incidents of violence in stores and towards staff members from customers who object to mask rules. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Shoppers who refuse to wear a face mask to visit Walmart will still be served, as the company seeks to protect its staff from "a physical confrontation," according to a CNN report. Walmart had announced that as of July 20, face masks would be compulsory for all but those whose medical conditions prevent it, as Business Insider's Hayley Peterson reported. At least 27 other retailers have recently required the same thing. However, a training video seen by CNN tells management to let people who refuse to wear a mask "continue to shop." Home Depot, Lowe's, CVS, and Walgreens have also said they'll serve customers without masks, CNN reported. Walmart spokeswoman Delia Garcia said in a statement to Business Insider: "We know there may be situations that may not make it possible for everyone to wear a face covering." In those situations, "we will allow them to shop in our stores and clubs," she said. "Our goal is to keep associates from a physical confrontation situation, and our ambassadors will be trained on those exceptions to help reduce friction for the shopper," she added. Not enforcing masks makes it a "public relations stunt," according to one critic Walmart first announced its mask rule with a blog post explaining how it trained special "health ambassadors" whose job it is to stand at the store entrance and "remind those without a mask of our new requirements." The company said that it that ambassadors would seek solutions when people refuse and recognize that some cannot wear masks on health grounds. But the health ambassadors are told in a training video not to impede customers who refuse physically. Instead, they inform a manager, "so they can determine the next steps," according to CNN. The company does not rule out involving law enforcement, however. A Walmart spokesperson told CNN: "While we do try to find solutions for customers who are not wearing face coverings, from time to time, we do need to call police for assistance in those areas." Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, criticized the lack of firmer enforcement. He told CNN that if companies "are not requiring customers to wear a mask within their store, then they never had a requirement. All they had was a public relations stunt." Walmart did not offer Business Insider a comment on the criticism, and did not respond to inquiries about asking security staff to enforce the rule Masks are increasingly accepted — but it's still tough for retail workers A Gallup poll released on July 6 showed that mask-wearing had become increasingly accepted in the US, with 85% of people saying they had worn one. Only 11% say they have not considered it. In their stores, Garcia, Walmart's spokeswoman, emphasized that "virtually everyone either brings a mask or readily complies with the requirement." However, retail staff have borne the brunt of numerous violent outbursts from some customers who refuse. Viral videos have shown anti-mask shoppers having outbursts over the issue. In early July, one woman was filmed destroying a mask display in an Arizona Target, while another customer in an Oregon Costco sat on the floor and refused to leave in an anti-mask protest. The issue has led to injuries — in late June, a 19-year-old McDonald's worker in California was physically attacked and racially abused by a customer who had been asked to put on a mask, as Business Insider's Kate Taylor reported. CBS Los Angeles reported that the employee confronted the man on July 15 at Ralphs's grocery store in Central Los Angeles and told the man he had to wear a face-covering or leave the establishment, a guideline required by Los Angeles County. The man rammed the employee with a shopping cart, and in response "she pepper-sprayed him and called the police," according to the report. In its blog post, Walmart said that around 65% of its 5,000 stores are in areas where there is already a statewide mask mandate. But the Retail Industry Leaders Association, of which Walmart is a member, wrote to governors on July 6 to ask for it to be imposed consistently across 50 states, CNN reported. Join the conversation about this story »