Walmart, Amazon nix mask policy for vaccinated employees

Short dive:

  • Walmart will no longer require vaccinated employees to wear masks while working at Walmart or Sam’s Club, unless required by state or local regulations. The company still requires masks from unvaccinated workers.
  • In an internal note from Donna Morris and John Vigo, chief HR officer and Walmart chief physician respectively, the company also set an expiration date for its COVID-19 emergency leave policy until March 31st.
  • Amazon has taken similar steps. According to an internal report for employees, the e-commerce company said vaccinated employees in the U.S. have the ability to work without masks if permitted by local regulations. Amazon is also now requiring vaccinations to get leave from COVID-19.

Diving Insight:

As the world’s largest retailer and among those considered “necessary” in the United States in the first months of the pandemic, Walmart played a leading role in determining how chain stores should work in a world that has become more dangerous because of COVID-19.

It’s been almost two years since Walmart first founded Fr. mandate mask for all employees. The retailer was also among those primarily require buyers also wear masks. Last year, after vaccines became widely available and companies and governments began to soften security protocols, Walmart removed the requirements for the mask for vaccinated employees, then turned back if the delta variant of COVID-19 led to another surge of cases.

Now cases are falling sharply again after the Omicron option led to the biggest surge since the pandemic reached the U.S., but there are still areas where Omicron is widely circulating, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends camouflage in off-road areas.

In its note to Walmart employees, it does not count local cases, but only local rules. Maurice and Wig noted, “Although vaccinated staff are no longer required to wear a mask in our facilities, we support and respect the human choice to continue wearing the mask.” (Massing continues to apply to those employees in medical facilities, including pharmacies and Walmart medical clinics.)

The company also refuses daily health surveys, except in those states where required, leaving employees to self-control.

The company reiterated its recommendations to those who did not, to get vaccinated and vaccinated, noting that most of those hospitalized with COVID-19 were not vaccinated.

Amazon, for its part, justified the decision to abandon the camouflage policy for vaccinated as a result of a sharp decline in the number of cases across the country, calling it along with the increase in vaccinations “a positive sign that we can return to normal.”

How employees perceive the news probably depends on the person. Retailers, like the rest of the population, have different vulnerabilities and risk tolerances. Earlier this month, a group of United for Respect activists, who loudly called for stricter safety guidelines and better risk compensation, disrupted Walmart for reducing rest time due to COVID-19, which occurred after changing the CDC’s quarantine instructions.

“Many people don’t want to go to work because they’re either scared or infected with the coronavirus,” said Peter Notan, Walmart’s electronics retailer and member of United for Respect. told Reuters in January.

The political, cultural and regulatory landscape has evolved regularly since the beginning of the pandemic, as has the virus itself. This means that 2022 may be as unpredictable as previous years when it comes to COVID-19.

https://www.retaildive.com/news/walmart-amazon-nix-mask-policies-for-vaccinated-employees/618786/ Walmart, Amazon nix mask policy for vaccinated employees

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