Walmart and Sam’s Club will start taking the temperature of each of their employees to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The retailers said Tuesday that each of their stores, centers and other facilities should receive thermometers within the next three weeks to check workers for fever. Employees will also be asked some questions to help assess the status of their health.
“Any associate with a temperature of 100.0 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home and seek medical treatment if necessary,” John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., and Kath McLay, president and CEO of Sam’s Club wrote in a blog post. “The associate will not be able to return to work until they are fever-free for at least three days.”
The retailers say that while federal health officials have not recommended workers wear masks and gloves if their jobs don’t typically require it, Walmart and Sam’s Club will now provide the equipment to those who ask, as long as supplies are available.
“The masks will arrive in 1 (to) 2 weeks,” the blog said. “They will be high-quality masks, but not N95 respirators, which should be reserved for at-risk healthcare workers.”
Walmart enables purchases without contact:Don’t touch: Walmart enables customers to make a purchase, get a delivery with no contact
When will the economy recover?:How quickly can the economy bounce back from the coronavirus?
Grocery store workers, like delivery drivers, have been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 as tens of millions of Americans are told to stay home to slow the spread of the virus that has led to the deaths of more than 3,100 Americans and over 800,000 cases worldwide.
But a growing number of workers complain they are not being provided the protections necessary to do their jobs in the midst of a pandemic, and they are demanding more safeguards as well as better pay.
As many as 150,000 workers for the grocery delivery service Instacart launched a nationwide strike Monday. Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York also walked off the job Monday, claiming that 10 of their colleagues had been diagnosed with the virus and they wanted the facility temporarily shut down.
Other Amazon workers, including employees at Whole Foods which is owned by the e-commerce company, threatened additional job actions Tuesday.
Walmart, along with Kroger and Albertson’s are installing sneeze guards at registers, and Walmart and Kroger have put decals on store floors to help maintain safe spacing.
Follow Charisse Jones on Twitter @charissejones