Some of the nation’s largest retailers are taking drastic measures to ensure that staff and customers stay safe during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Walmart - and other national retail store chains - have installed plexiglass barriers at cash registers, and employees have been directed to wear masks, gloves and are being given additional breaks to wash hands.
Additionally, Walmart has reduced store hours to allow employees to make time for sanitizing stores and installing the sneeze guards, which will help limit the spread of airborne droplets, which is the predominant way the virus is spread.
The plexiglass barriers are set to be completely installed within two to three weeks, the company said. New signage is also being posted advising about proper social distancing protocols.
Walmart has also introduced new shopping cart sanitation plans by using sprayer kits to sanitize the entire cart. They are set to be shipped to stores nationwide next week.
“In unprecedented times like these, we’re doing everything we can to serve thousands of communities across the U.S.,” the company posted online. “We’re taking preventive measures to keep our stores clean and maintain a healthy environment.
"We’re working to keep products stocked and prices fair. And as the largest employer in the country, we’re working to take care of our associates, too, offering a new leave policy to ensure they have the support they need.”
Walmart is also assisting employees by allowing access to earned wages each week, allowing them to “plan and focus their time and energy where it matters most - on the safety of their families,” Walmart COO Dacona Smith said.
“As our associates continue their heroic work to serve their communities and support each other during this time, we’re focused on doing what we can to support them and their families.
"Building on last week’s actions to provide associates a special cash bonus, accelerating first quarter bonuses and adjusting our operating hours, today we’re rolling out additional changes with the health and safety of our associates in mind,” she said.
“We cannot thank and appreciate our associates enough. What they have accomplished in the last few weeks has been amazing to watch and fills everyone at our company with enormous pride.
"America is getting the chance to see what we’ve always known – that our people truly do make the difference. Let’s all take care of each other out there.”
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