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Walmart, Sam’s Club bring back mask requirement for employees in COVID hot spots, encourage customers to mask up

Walmart adding automated warehouses with robots to stores to help fulfill pickup, delivery orders

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Walmart, Sam’s Club bring back mask requirement for employees in COVID hot spots, encourage customers to mask up

COVID-19: CDC recommends Americans wear masks indoors againThe CDC reversed course and urged even fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in areas of high COVID-19 transmission.Staff video, USA TODAYWalmart and Sam’s Club will again require employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status in COVID hot spots.The nation’s largest retailer announced Friday that stores and clubs will require masks for employees effective immediately.”Customers are strongly encouraged to wear masks, but not required,” the company said in a statement to USA TODAY. Walmart notes the mask requirement for employees is “not applicable in all stores. Managers will refer to the CDC site for updates relevant to their county each Monday.”The move to bring back masks comes 11 weeks after Walmart dropped the requirement for customers and just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new masking guidelines that recommend people vaccinated for the coronavirus start wearing masks indoors again in areas with substantial or high transmission of COVID-19. ►Mask mandates: Will stores require masks again after CDC releases new mask guidelines?►Costco senior hours: Costco reverses course and will keep reduced senior hours as COVID-19 cases increase nationwideThe new CDC mask guidance also recommends that people with underlying conditions that may make them more susceptible to the coronavirus wear masks, along with anyone residing with vulnerable people. “We remain focused on guidance issued by health experts, including the CDC, as well as state and local health departments,” Walmart said in a memo to employees, which was provided to USA TODAY. “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.”Apple was the first retailer to put a mask policy back in place for all consumers, including those who are fully vaccinated. However, Apple’s policy is only in place at half of its 270 U.S. stores.Walmart wasn’t alone in changing its policy in May. Other retailers also quickly changed policies days after the CDC last updated its guidance to say fully vaccinated people didn’t need to wear masks indoors.Since May, most states have backed off mask requirements for vaccinated people and some lifted their mask mandates for everyone. Several local governments – including Los Angeles County and St. Louis – recently began requiring vaccinated people to again wear masks, citing concerns about the surging delta variant.►Shopping for new masks?: The CDC is recommending masks for all again—here are the best ones Reviewed tested►Save better, spend better:  Money tips and advice delivered right to your inbox. Sign up hereWalmart increases COVID vaccine incentive for employeesWalmart is doubling the vaccine incentive to $150 for employees who get the vaccine, up from $75. Employees who already received the $75 incentive will receive another $75 in their Aug. 19 paycheck.“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,” Walmart’s employee memo said. “We are urging you to get vaccinated and want to see many more of you vaccinated.”The incentive program will remain in effect until Oct. 4.The increase comes after President Joe Biden asked states and cities Thursday to use federal rescue funds to provide $100 payments as an incentive for individuals to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.►Mask mandates by state: CDC mask recommendations have changed again. What’s required in your state?►No more change fees?: Delta allows free basic economy ticket changes as travelers struggle to reach agentsContributing: Adrianna Rodriguez, Jeanine Santucci and Kate Mabus, USA TODAYFollow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko. For shopping news, tips and deals, join us on our Shopping Ninjas Facebook group. 


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