Walmart and others require employees to mask up again

Photo (c) Photography by Keith Getter (all rights reserved) - Getty Images

There will no doubt be others if the Delta variant continues to spread

The shift back to wearing face masks has made another strong turnabout. Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) and California’s policy changes regarding masking up, Walmart has decided to address the issue for its employees. 

Effective immediately, all company employees must wear face coverings while on the job inside of a Walmart store located in an area of “substantial or high transmission.” That designation is determined by the CDC and even applies to fully vaccinated workers. Shoppers are strongly encouraged to wear masks in stores, but they will not be required to.

Walmart says the CDC is its main guidepost, but it’s also basing its decisions on guidance issued by local health experts. The company also said it will soon implement a new process for verification of vaccine status for U.S. associates.

“We continue to watch with deep concern the developments of the pandemic and the spread of variants, especially the Delta variant,” commented Donna Morris, Chief People Officer, and Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Health and Wellness, in announcing the change.

“We know vaccinations are our solution to drive change. We are urging you to get vaccinated and want to see many more of you vaccinated. We realize there is a small number of our associates who cannot get vaccinated due to medical issues or religious reasons.”

Other companies changing mask policies

ConsumerAffairs found the following when researching other companies that are changing mask policies:

Publix: Effective August 2, Publix is requiring associates, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside any Publix location.

Theme Parks: At Disney World and Busch Gardens, face coverings are once again required for all guests aged 2 and up while indoors. Universal is again mandating masks for employees, and non-vaccinated guests will have to wear masks while inside any building. Vaccinated guests will not be required to wear a mask when they’re at Universal.

Kroger: In a statement provided to ConsumerAffairs, Kroger said its current mask policy requires unvaccinated employees to wear masks and “requests” that unvaccinated customers wear masks when shopping in stores. 

“In light of the Delta variant and updated CDC recommendations, we strongly encourage all individuals, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask when in our stores and facilities. We will continue to abide by all state and local mandates and encourage all Americans to get vaccinated, including our associates,” a company representative said.

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