WALMART is now requiring all of its employees to wear face masks to protect both workers and customers — starting this Monday.
The retail giant announced on Friday: "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."
Walmart, which has more than 5,000 stores across the U.S., said in the statement they are also "encouraging customers and members to wear face coverings when they shop with us."
The company said employees are allowed to bring their own mask "as long as it meets certain guidelines," otherwise workers will be given them.
Employees will need to pass a health screening and temperature check in order to get a mask, Walmart said.
The company also announced an extension of their emergency leave policy until the end of May.
"We hope this step will promote safety and consistency across all of our facilities and be of comfort to our customers and members," the store wrote.
"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.
The company encourages workers to practice six feet of social distancing "whenever possible," and urges them to regularly wash their hands for 20 seconds.
"If you have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, stay home," Walmart advised.
The Arkansas-based company said they've updated their face covering policy based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC, which did not previously advise people to wear masks or coverings, is now urging Americans to cover their faces "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."
Walmart said that because of this, "we believe it is simply in everyone’s best interest to use masks or face coverings to curb the spread of this disease."
Across the U.S., people have been encouraged to cover their faces as more than 706,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus — more than 2.2 million globally.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration recommended that many Americans wear face coverings in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: "Because of some recent information that the virus can actually be spread even when people just speak as opposed to coughing and sneezing."
"The better part of valor is that when you’re out, when you can’t maintain that 6-foot distance, to wear some sort of facial covering."
Fauci said the aim is not to “take away from the availability of masks that are needed for the health care providers who are in real and present danger of getting infected from the people that they’re taking care of.”
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