Walmart is taking additional precautions to try to keep its workplace safe amid the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The big-box retailer announced today that it would start taking the temperatures of its store associates as well as those in its warehouses and other facilities before their shifts. The company’s management will also ask workers basic health questions at the start of their work day.
Any employee whose temperature is at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit will be asked to go home, seek medical treatment, if necessary, and not return until he or she can report three days without a fever. Walmart noted that these employees will be paid for reporting to work.
“Many associates have already been taking their own temperatures at home, and we’re asking them to continue that practice as we start doing it on-site,” Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner and Sam’s Club president and CEO Kath McLay said in a statement.
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Along with the new screening procedure, the company said it was in the process of sending infrared thermometers to all of its locations, which could take up to three weeks. It is also shipping gloves and “high-quality” masks to its stores within two weeks. These will not include N95 respirators, which are certified under U.S. testing standards.
“We encourage anyone who would like to wear a mask or gloves at work to ask their supervisor for them,” the company memo read, “while keeping in mind that it is still possible to spread germs while wearing them.”
Walmart has already employed a variety of safety measures this month, including closing overnight for cleaning, installing sneeze guards at checkouts, adding wipes and sprayers to carts, as well as implementing a COVID-19 emergency leave policy. It has also pledged $25 million to organizations on the “front lines,” such as food banks and other local efforts to fight the coronavirus in the U.S., which now has 164,700 confirmed cases of the illness.
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