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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Walmart drops mask mandate for 1.6M employees

Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Walmart said in a memo today it will no longer require fully vaccinated U.S. employees to wear masks at work. However, those who wish to wear a mask while working are permitted to do so.

Driving the news: New COVID cases are plunging and the U.S. appears to be on its way out of this wave of the pandemic after less than two months, Axios’ reported. And NIAID director Anthony Fauci this week said the country is headed out of the “full-blown pandemic phase of COVID-19.”

Details: “Effective immediately, fully vaccinated associates will not be required to wear masks while working in any Walmart or Sam’s Club facility, unless required by a state or local mandate or ordinance,” according to the memo.

  • The rule change impacts more than 1.6 million employees who work at Walmart or Sam’s Club facilities and offices across the country.
  • The company noted it would still observe state and local ordinances, and that employees working in its pharmacies and health clinics will still be required to mask up.
  • Walmart defined fully vaccinated as receiving the full two-dose regimen of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

State of play: Walmart said daily health screenings will not be required of its employees as of Feb. 28, except for those in California, New York and Virginia.

  • A policy that provided paid leave policy for COVID-19 related absences will end on March 31.

By the numbers: There are more than 4,700 Walmart and 600 Sam’s Club retail stores in the U.S.

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