Walmart will start taking employees' temperatures before shifts

Grant Boone
March 31, 2020

Walmart Inc. will start taking temperatures of USA store workers at the start of each shift and offering masks for those employees who wish to wear them, the company said Tuesday.

Protective equipment like masks and gloves should arrive within a fortnight and will be made available to all Walmart employees.

According to the press release, the company is in the process of sending digital thermometers to all of its store locations, which could take up to three weeks.

"Many associates have already been taking their own temperatures at home, and we're asking them to continue that practice as we start doing it on-site", John Furner, U.S. CEO, and Kathryn McLay, Sam's Club CEO, said in a corporate blog post. Employees will also be asked basic health questions as well as temperature control, executives said. Sick workers will still be paid to report to work if asked to leave, officials said. Employees with a high temperature won't be allowed to return to work until they're fever-free for at least three days.

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Walmart is the country's largest private employer with around 1.5 million workers.

"If an associate feels more comfortable wearing masks, we want to give them that opportunity to do so", Bartlett said. Retailers have continually stepped up defenses in recent weeks, racing to outfit stores with Plexiglas dividers at checkouts and enacting social distancing measures. The company said the masks will be high-quality, but not the N95 respirators that at-risk health-care workers need.

Walmart also announced special bonuses of $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates.

The store also encouraged employees to stay six feet away from others while working and wash their hands frequently with soap for 20 seconds.

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