March 5, 2020
Editor’s note: Donna Morris, Executive Vice President, Chief People Officer – Walmart, and Dr. Tom Van Gilder, Chief Medical Officer – Walmart, sent the following note to Walmart associates.
Coronavirus Update and Travel Guidelines
To: Walmart associates
From: Donna Morris, Executive Vice President, Chief People Officer – Walmart and Dr. Tom Van Gilder, Chief Medical Officer – Walmart
We continue to prioritize the safety of our associates, customers and business partners as we monitor the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) around the world. Out of an abundance of caution, we are sharing additional guidelines pertaining to travel that are effective immediately. We expect these guidelines to be in place for at least the months of March and April, so plan accordingly. We’ll continue to provide updates as things develop.
Specifically, we are providing guidance on:
- International travel – We are restricting all cross-border international travel to business-critical trips. This applies to all the markets in which we operate. Any such trip must be approved by the Executive Council member for your area or your in-country CEO for International. We will of course make proper arrangements for associates on international travel to return home safely. If you’re currently traveling, work with your management and travel team to plan your return.
- Domestic travel – In the U.S., we will continue domestic travel related to essential operations, which includes store and club visits. However, we will restrict less essential travel related to conferences, trade shows and other events. Consult your leadership team if you have questions about a domestic travel decision. Outside of the U.S., each country president will establish or alter their domestic travel guidelines as appropriate.
- Group meetings – Let’s be selective about which group meetings occur during this period. In the U.S., we are cancelling the Walmart U.S. Customer Conference (formerly Year Beginning Meeting) that was scheduled to be in Dallas next week. It seems best to cancel given the size of that meeting, plus the benefit of having our store managers present in their stores during this time. We will have a virtual form of the meeting to share some key points. Within our offices, we will continue to gather in groups for meetings (e.g. Town Hall meetings); however, we don’t want you to travel for them. Let’s use video conferencing or call in rather than travel.
As we shared last week, all associates should take preventive measures to stay healthy. As always, if you’re not feeling well, please don’t come to work. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
In the coming weeks and months, as the world learns more about this virus, we will evaluate our response and keep you informed. More information for associates in the U.S. is available on OneWalmart. Associates in our international markets should visit Passport. These pages will be updated frequently.
Thank you to our associates who are doing an exceptional job of serving our customers and communities around the world during this unusual time.