May 20, 2022

Exterior view of a Walmart store on August 23, 2020 in North Bergen, New Jersey. Walmart saw profits jump in the most recent quarter as e-commerce sales soared during the coronavirus pandemic.

VIEW press | Corbis News | Getty Images

Walmart said Friday that customers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are not required to wear a mask in their stores unless required by state or local law.

In a memo sent to employees, the country’s largest retailer and grocery store announced that the change to its mask policy will take effect immediately in Walmart stores and its member club, Sam’s Club. From Tuesday, fully vaccinated employees will no longer have to wear a mask while at work.

The memo was from John Furner, CEO of Walmart US; Kath McLay, CEO of Sam’s Club; and Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Walmart’s executive vice president of health and wellness.

Walmart officials pointed to new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released on Thursday, according to which, in most cases, fully vaccinated people, indoors or outdoors, must wear a mask or stay half a meter away from others.

The company offers a financial incentive and the freedom to work without a mask to vaccinate more employees.

“We encourage all employees to get vaccinated and end this pandemic,” they said in the memo. “Do it for your health, your family, your friends, your community, and your country – let’s help meet our national vaccination goals by July 4th.”

Walmart executives said in the memo that the company “will continue to require unvaccinated customers and members to wear face covers in our stores and clubs.” They said the stores will have updated signs to reflect this new policy.

They didn’t say whether or how Walmart will check whether customers are vaccinated or not.

For employees who want to work in a store, distribution center, or other facility without a mask, Walmart will check their status by asking if they have been vaccinated or not. It depends on the person’s yes or no answer.

“Integrity is one of our core values, and we trust that employees respect this principle when responding,” the memo reads.

However, to receive a vaccine-related bonus, the employee must present their original, completed vaccine card to a store manager or HR manager, according to Walmart. Starting next Tuesday, each person will be entitled to $ 75 “as a thank you for the vaccination.”

Walmart’s policy change is a departure from other major retailers, including Target, Gap, and Ulta Beauty, who have announced plans to maintain pandemic logs. However, Trader Joe’s said customers could shop without a mask if they were fully vaccinated.