Walmart, like many other companies, is taking extra measures to ensure the safety of their employees and customers during the current COVID-19 outbreak.
Grocery stores, such as Walmart, are considered essential businesses, so while other nonessential businesses are shutting down during the outbreak employees of Walmart still must report to work.
To protect them, and the customers who shop at the store every day, Walmart has continued to put a number of preemptive measures in place.
The local Marshall Walmart Supercenter, located at 1701 E. End Blvd. N, is among the stores looking to make these changes.
Masks and Gloves
While the CDC and other health officials do not recommend medical or surgical masks or gloves for healthy people who don’t ordinarily use them for their jobs, Walmart representatives stated that the company will make them available — as supplies permit — for associates who want to wear them.
The company stated that the gear will be high-quality masks, but not N95 respirators – which should be reserved for at-risk healthcare workers, and latex gloves.
Ryan Trimble, with Allyn Media, stated that the Walmart location in Marshall has instituted safety procedures like gloves, masks and plexiglass.
Beginning on March 31, Walmart also worked to create an easy way for employees to remember how to keep themselves safe, using the numbers 6, 20 and 100.
6 feet is the amount of space people should keep from others, when possible, to maintain social distancing. 20 seconds is the amount of time people should take to wash their hands with soap and water. 100 is the temperature that someone should stay home with.
By encouraging their employees to keep these numbers in mind Walmart hopes to make it a little easier to keep the community safe during this time.
Corporate has decided to begin taking the temperatures of store associates as they report to work in stores, clubs and facilities, as well as asking them some basic health screening questions. Including sending infrared thermometers to all locations, which a press release stated could take up to three weeks.
Any associate with a temperature of 100 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home and seek medical treatment if necessary. The associate will not be able to return to work until they are fever-free for at least three days.
The store will also be screening employees for other symptoms of the virus, including coughing, feeling achy, difficulty breathing, and encourage them to never come to work when they don’t feel well.
The companies COVID-19 emergency leave policy allows associates to stay home if they have any COVID-19 related symptoms, concerns, illness or are quarantined – knowing that their jobs will be protected.
Store associates were not able to confirm that this procedure has been added to the Marshall location.
Walmart has also started limiting the number of customers in its stores with no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet, roughly about 20 percent of the average store’s capacity.
To oversee the restriction, workers will mark a queue at a door, and direct arriving customers there, where they’ll be admitted one by one. The store will also institute one-way movement through aisles next week in some stores, including floor markers and direction from workers.