Your Courage on the Front Lines

April 9, 2020

4 Min. Read

April 9, 2020

Your Courage on the Front Lines

To: All U.S.- based associates
From: Doug McMillon, President and CEO – Walmart

As I was walking into the vestibule of one of our Supercenters in Burlington, North Carolina yesterday, two separate customers stopped in their tracks, looked me in the eye to make sure I was paying attention, and expressed their heartfelt gratitude for how our associates are serving them during this difficult and painful experience we’re all sharing. I made it through the next door and was about to greet our store manager, Steve Matthews, when a third customer stopped us to express her appreciation.

Whether it’s on my visits to stores and Sam’s Clubs or through email and letters, the customers and communities we serve are noticing you and appreciating your dedication and hard work more than ever. We are so proud of you! Peggie from Jasper, Georgia wrote a few days ago that, “You have been American HEROES during this crisis!”

It has been a privilege to watch how you’re working together. From those of you serving on the front line in our stores and Sam’s Clubs, to our dedicated associates in our distribution and fulfillment centers, our merchants, pharmacists and pharmacy techs, our eCommerce and replenishment associates, and all the rest of you – you form one very strong and capable team.

And right now, you are supporting one of the greatest supply chains in the world. And because of you, more than ever, that supply chain has become a lifeline. Every day you stand on the front lines of the fight against this disease and extend that lifeline to your fellow citizens across this country.

We all know healthcare workers, first responders and military personnel when we see them. We recognize their uniforms. And because of what they do, they deserve our deepest admiration and respect. They are courageous. And so are you. You deserve a great deal of respect and admiration, and your uniform – the vest you wear – should be recognized as a symbol to everyone of your enormous service and commitment.

You’ve handled unbelievable surges in demand which have quickly been followed by out of stocks. You’ve listened to customers and shown a great deal of empathy to those expressing their anxiety. I’ve seen that firsthand. You’re helping each other through this crisis. You’re caring for each other physically and emotionally.

Our first, shared priority is to keep you well and safe. Despite being on the front lines, our overall number of known cases is tracking with the national rate of cases per capita for the general population, with less than 1% of our workforce having confirmed cases. We have lost some associates, and that is obviously painful. We’re supporting the loved ones of our associates, and our hearts go out to them.

As we learn about confirmed cases within each facility, we are actively reaching out for wellness checks, and we are supporting each other in the cases when someone has passed away. As with the number of cases, the numbers we’ve seen so far don’t indicate a disproportionate impact, but we must stay vigilant. There is nothing more important than us working together to get through this in the safest possible way. We’re getting advice from healthcare experts, listening to you and moving as quickly as possible to take the right steps.

But, we need your help. Do your best to practice social distancing on the sales floor, in the breakrooms – everywhere. Please support decisions like the one to take our temperatures. If you choose to use the masks or gloves we’ve made available, do so properly. Keep washing your hands frequently, as recommended. We’ll keep making decisions related to limiting customers, placing distancing reminders on the floor and putting up sneeze guards as we’re doing in the pharmacies and at the checkouts.

As we operate in locations with more cases, we may temporarily close facilities as we’ve done with an eCommerce fulfillment center and a few stores so far. We’ll also keep hiring new associates to help you. In the last few weeks, we’ve hired more than 100,000 people to help support you and share in the work. We need to work together to avoid fatigue.

We will get through this. We’ll each do our part. Let’s keep encouraging each other and keep all the communication lines open. You should feel very proud of how you’ve pulled together so far. I’m so proud of you. It’s an honor to tell so many about what you’re doing.

More and more, when people see your uniform, your vest – when they see you – they will see people who are serving as courageously as any other professional on the front lines of this fight. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for being who you are: a proud Walmart or Sam’s Club associate. We will get through this just as we have when we’ve faced other challenges – we’ll do it together.