Walmart customers will no longer be required to wear a mask or face covering when shopping.
On Friday, May 14, the Bentonville retailer announced that it would no longer require fully vaccinated shoppers to mask up. However, the company “will continue to request” that non-vaccinated individuals wear masks.
Vaccinated associates, or Walmart employees, will no longer be required to wear masks starting Tuesday, May 18. This new guideline applies to all Walmart facilities, including stores, Sam’s Club locations, distribution centers, fulfillment centers and offices.
Associates who have not been fully vaccinated will still be required to wear face coverings. According to a Walmart release, the company will be evaluating “certain job codes” to determine if masks will be required for those positions for health or sanitation reasons.
To encourage vaccination among its employees, Walmart is providing $75 to U.S. field associates who are vaccinated. This bonus, which applies to individuals who are already vaccinated and those who get vaccinated later, will apply to U.S. associates at Walmart, Sam’s Club and supply chain locations who are below the level of facility manager.
“These are positive developments. We can do this. We’ve been through a lot this year, and now we need to do our part to finish this. We encourage you to get vaccinated and to tell your friends and fellow associates. Thank you to all of you who have already chosen to make a difference and thank you to all of you who will choose to do so now,”Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner wrote in an e-mail to employees.
This new policy comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines regarding face mask and social distancing. The CDC’s new guidance states that for fully vaccinated individuals, it is not necessary to wear a mask or maintain a six-foot social distancing barrier.