Walmart Among Retailers Dropping Masks in Wake of CDC Shift
Retailer could influence what other companies decide on masks
Walmart also giving $75 to employees once fully vaccinated
Walmart Inc. said fully vaccinated staff and customers can now leave their masks at home, a decision that could influence how other businesses respond to the latest government guidance.
The nation’s biggest private employer said fully vaccinated staff need not wear a mask at work starting May 18, the same day the retailer reports first-quarter results. The rule applies to all of its U.S. Walmart and Sam’s Club locations, distribution centers and offices. Customers who have been inoculated can also shop without face coverings as of Friday, although masks could still be required by some local ordinances, Walmart executives said in a memo to employees Friday.
The move by the world’s largest retailer marks a significant step toward a return to normalcy in American life and could set an example for the industry. Retailers have largely required masks for shoppers and employees over the past year, resulting in occasional clashes with uncooperative customers. But Apple Inc., Target Corp. and other retailers have not yet relaxed their mask requirements, creating a confusing environment for shoppers and employees alike.
Walmart is not alone, as Costco Wholesale Corp. and Trader Joe’s also said Friday that they were eliminating mask requirements for shoppers.
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Header featured image (edited) credit: Walmart store in Lakewood, CA./Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
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