Updated CDC guidance and vaccination information
To: All U.S.-based associates
From: Donna Morris, Chief People Officer; Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Health and Wellness
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the health and well-being of our associates continues to be our top priority.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidance regarding wearing masks due to the concerning levels of transmission of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. We remain focused on guidance issued by health experts, including the CDC, as well as state and local health departments. We will continue to follow the latest CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission, effective immediately.
We continue to watch with deep concern the developments of the pandemic and the spread of variants, especially the Delta variant. We know vaccinations are our solution to drive change. We are urging you to get vaccinated and want to see many more of you vaccinated. We realize there is a small number of our associates who cannot get vaccinated due to medical issues or religious reasons.
We want to make the decision to get vaccinated as easy as possible:
- It’s free. You can get the vaccine at no cost.
- It’s accessible. You can get the vaccine at any of our more than 5,100 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies. You can make an appointment through the schedulers, or you can simply walk into the pharmacy to get your shot. You can also get vaccinated at many other locations in your community.
- We are paying associates in stores, clubs, transportation offices, distribution centers and fulfillment centers to receive it and are now DOUBLING the incentive amount. We have been paying associates $75 to get vaccinated and are now increasing that amount to $150 for associates in stores, clubs, TOs, DCs and FCs. This includes new associates on their first day in these roles at Walmart, even if they were vaccinated months ago. Associates who already received the $75 incentive will receive $75 more on their Aug. 19 paychecks. This incentive program will remain in place until Oct. 4, 2021.
- You can be vaccinated while on the clock and receive two hours of paid time off to do so, whether at our locations or if you get vaccinated elsewhere.
- We are providing up to three days paid leave for any possible adverse reactions to the vaccine. Our COVID-19 leave policy is also still in place.
As a country, vaccination options have been available for months, but, unfortunately, because so many people have chosen not to receive it, we’ve left ourselves more vulnerable to variants. The Delta variant is a mutation of the original COVID-19 virus and is much more aggressive and transmissible. It is important that necessary steps are taken to keep ourselves and our communities safe.
We will implement a new process for verification of vaccine status for U.S. associates (subject to local legal requirements). This will aid us in following CDC guidelines regarding wearing masks in high transmission areas, and other CDC recommendations more closely. We will share more specific details about this process in the near future. Please note we’ll also continue our daily health screening process for all associates to work in a Walmart or Sam’s Club facility, DC, FC or our campus offices.
As mentioned, we will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission. In these counties and where there are state or local mask mandates, associates will be required to wear masks inside our facilities, including stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. This also includes campus offices, and you’ll note the entire state of Arkansas is currently included. To keep you updated on the most recent status:
- You can find the county-by-county breakdown here. The CDC updates its data on transmission rates weekly, so the guidance on mask usage is likely to change over time in different locations. Leaders should regularly check the CDC site to confirm updates to their areas.
- Store and club management will also receive notifications on Mondays.
- Facility managers will also post signage at our stores and clubs to remind customers and members about the CDC’s revised guidance and strongly encourage them to wear masks.
Business travel should be limited to business-critical travel only. Travel to stores, clubs, DCs and FCs is allowed. Please continue to look for ways to participate in supplier meetings, conferences, etc., virtually.
Please know we are making these changes to continue our focus on your health and safety. Thank you for all you’re doing for your fellow associates, customers and communities.
Today we also announced our decision to require all market, regional and divisional associates who work in multiple facilities and all campus office associates to be vaccinated by Oct. 4, unless they have an approved exception. Read more here.