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Walmart taking workers’ temperatures, will allow them to wear masks in U.S.

April 1, 2020
By Talent Canada Staff

Walmart will start taking the temperatures of employees in the United States who report to work and will allow them to wear masks, according to a new policy announced by the CEO.

“As our company and country continue to deal with spread of COVID-19, we remain focused on the health and safety of our associates,” said John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. and Kath McLay, president and CEO of Sam’s club, in a joint statement.

The store has been following the usual recommendations from the CDC, including washing hands, social distancing and regular cleaning of surfaces. Stores that were open 24 hours are closing at night for cleaning, sneeze guards have been installed at checkouts and pharmacies and an emergency leave policy was in place for staff.

Taking temperature

But now, when workers show up for their shifts they will have their temperatures taken and will be asked some basic health screening questions.

“We are in the process of sending infrared thermometers to all locations, which could take up to three weeks,” said Furner and McLay.

If a worker has a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, they will be paid for reporting to work, asked to return home and to seek medical treatment if necessary.

Any associate with a temperature of 100.0 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home and seek medical treatment if necessary.

“The associate will not be able to return to work until they are fever-free for at least three days,” the said.

The company is also encouraging it workers to take their own temperatures at home and to keep an eye out for common symptoms – such as coughing, feeling achy and difficulty breathing – and not to come to work if they don’t feel well.

“Our COVID-19 emergency leave policy allows associates to stay home if they have any COVID-19 related symptoms, concerns, illness or are quarantined – knowing that their jobs will be protected,” they said.

Masks and gloves

Walmart is making makes and gloves available to staff – as supplies permit – who want to wear them.

The company acknowledged that the CDC and other health officials do not recommend masks or gloves for healthy people, but made the move anyway.

“The masks will arrive in one to two weeks. They will be high-quality masks, but not N95 respirators – which should be reserved for at-risk healthcare workers,” said Furner and McLay.

It encouraged staff to use the gear, but also reminded them that it is still possible to spread germs while wearing them.

6-20-100 Guidance

The retailer also announced a new framework for its employees regarding health work behaviours.

“We’re asking them to remember three numbers – six, 20 and 100,” the company said.

Six feet is the amount of space people should keep from others, when possible, to maintain social distancing.

Twenty seconds is the amount of time people should take to wash their hands with soap and water.

And 100 is the temperature (in Fahrenheit) that someone should stay home with.

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