Walmart to Stop Requiring Masks for Vaccinated Workers and Shoppers
By Sarah Nassauer
Walmart Inc., the country's largest private employer, said it
would no longer require vaccinated workers and shoppers to wear
masks in stores and warehouses outside of municipalities that
The shift comes one day after the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention said people who have completed a Covid-19
vaccine no longer need to wear masks or social distance in most
settings. Walmart's new no-mask policy for workers goes into effect
May 18, the company said. Vaccinated customers could shop maskless
In a memo to staff, executives said they would also give any
vaccinated worker a $75 payment. "We're encouraging all associates
to get vaccinated," said the email. "We're excited to share two
more reasons why: a cash bonus and no masks." To receive the
payment workers need to show their vaccination card to managers. To
go maskless, workers have to say they are vaccinated during the
health screenings each worker takes to start a shift.
The company continues to review whether masks should be worn for
certain jobs, said the email, and workers can continue to wear
masks if they want to.
Walmart's over 5,000 Walmart and Sam's Club stores have been a
rare public gathering spot for millions of people each week
throughout the pandemic. Walmart's rules on masks, Covid-19 related
worker leave and other pandemic policies have helped set the tone
for the industry.
The country's largest retailer by revenue first mandated masks
for its 1.6 million U.S. workers last April, then required masks
for shoppers last July. At the time Walmart said around 65% of its
stores were in states that already mandated mask wearing inside
Many other companies have thus far kept mask requirements in
place or said they are reviewing the CDC's new guidelines. In a
Twitter message, grocer Trader Joe's said it would drop its mask
requirement for vaccinated customers. It won't require proof of
vaccination, said a spokesperson.
Like many other retailers, Walmart has required shoppers to wear
masks but enforcement by store workers varies. Workers don't order
shoppers to do so if they resist, in part to protect employees, the
company has said.
Write to Sarah Nassauer at Sarah.Nassauer@WSJ.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 14, 2021 17:36 ET (21:36 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.