Coronavirus: Walmart begins temperature checks, provides masks, gloves for US employees

Employees at Walmart stores in the United States will have their temperatures taken and will be provided masks and gloves, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

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The Arkansas-based retail giant also made the announcement in a Twitter post Tuesday morning, saying it will implement the safety precautions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement, John Furner, president and CEO, for Walmart U.S. and Kath McLay, president and CEO for Sam’s Club, said “focused on the health and safety of our associates.”

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“As the COVID-19 situation has evolved, we’ve decided to begin taking the temperatures of our associates as they report to work in stores, clubs and facilities, as well as asking them some basic health screening questions,” the statement said. “We are in the process of sending infrared thermometers to all locations, which could take up to three weeks.”

The precautions also include making masks and gloves available -- as supplies permit -- for employees who want to wear them. Walmart also said it will continue to take steps to promote social distancing, the statement said.

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An employee who has a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be sent home but will be paid for reporting to work, Walmart said. The employees will not be able to return to work until they experience fever-free symptoms for at least three days.

According to the statement, the masks -- which are not N95 masks -- will be available to employees who want them in one to two weeks.

“They will be high-quality masks, but not N95 respirators -- which should be reserved for at-risk healthcare workers,” Walmart said.

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Walmart also said it was telling customers and associates to maintain a distance of at least six feet.

“We will continue to consult with health officials and experts inside and outside Walmart as this situation evolves,” the statement said. "We greatly appreciate the work our associates are doing for customers, members, and their communities, and we will continue to prioritize their health and well-being.