Walmart to require employees to wear face masks Monday

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Facts about retail chain Walmart.

Walmart is making  another policy change in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The retail giant said in a letter to employees Friday that all U.S. associates will be required to wear a face covering starting Monday, April 20. Customers will be encouraged to do the same.

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"We will begin requiring that associates wear masks or other face coverings at work,"  John Furner, Walmart U.S. President and Chief Executive Officer and Kath McLay, Sam's Club President and Chief Executive Officer said in a joint statement. "This includes our stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, as well as in our corporate offices. We'll also be encouraging customers and members to wear face coverings when they shop with us."

»COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS

The latest policy change comes weeks after the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated recommendations on face masks to prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19. The CDC now says people should wear face coverings when out in public in spaces where social distancing is not possible or a challenge, such as in grocery stores. It is still recommended that people continue to maintain social distancing -- staying at least six feet away from others -- and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

“We have evolved our policy on face coverings from optional to mandatory as public health guidance has shifted,” McLay and Furner said.

RELATED: Walmart mandates one-way aisles, employees’ masks, gloves in response to coronavirus

Employees can provide their own mask as long as it meets certain guidelines, which were not specified in the news release.

The statement also said that Walmart will provide employees with a mask should they pass a health screen and temperature check, which were initially announced March 31. Under this policy, employees with a temperature of above 100 degrees will reportedly be sent home with pay.

“We’re also aware there may need to be exceptions to this policy based on local laws and individual health needs,” McLay and Furner said.

The statement said it would also extend its emergency leave policy through the end of May.

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