Walmart is the latest major company to ease mask requirements, dropping the rule for vaccinated workers.
In a Friday memo to United States employees — roughly 1.6 million — the company announced that it will no longer force vaccinated workers to wear masks, although they will be subject to local restrictions. Employees working in “clinical care settings” will still be required to wear a mask, as will unvaccinated workers.
According to AL, “Beginning on Feb. 28, employees — save for those in California, New York and Virginia — will no longer need to take part in the daily health screening, though all workers are urged to ‘monitor their own health and take appropriate actions … before each workday’” as well:
The company on March 31 also will end its 2-year COVID-19 Emergency Leave Policy “which provides paid leave for COVID-19-related absences in addition to our regular PTO policies,” according to the memo.
The news comes as several states loosen masking requirements, including New Jersey, Delaware, and Illinois. Despite that, President Joe Biden still believes lifting of restrictions is “probably premature” despite initially touting “just” 100 days of masking prior to taking office.
Meanwhile, Republicans who have been at the forefront of battling coronavirus restrictions have warned that the move is simply politics at play as the science has not changed.
“So when you start to see them kind of reevaluate or say all this, just understand this. The science didn’t change. The medical science didn’t change. The political science changed. They feel the heat,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said last week.
“They know that voters have been tired of perpetual lockdown policies. They know that they have basically offered no offramp, and they know that they’re fixing to be whooped at the polls, so that’s causing the epiphany,” he added.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) made the same observation during a speech on the Senate floor last week.
“Sometimes I hear the phrase, ‘the science changed.’ The science hasn’t changed. What’s changed is that there’s an election coming, and Democrats have seen the polling on this question,” Cotton said, adding that Democrats are “running scared and they want to pretend that they didn’t force your kid to wear a mask for two years.”