Walmart announced Tuesday it will begin taking the temperatures of workers at stores and warehouse facilities in the United States as it fortifies its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Workers with a temperature of 100 degrees fahrenheit will be paid and not allowed to return to work until they are fever-free for at least three days, Walmart said in a blog post.
Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer and the nation’s biggest employer, has previously said that it would guarantee workers up to two weeks of pay if they get the coronavirus or if their store or distribution center is closed by a government agency.
The company, which has more than 5,300 stores in the United States, said it is sending infrared thermometers to all locations, which could take up to three weeks.
Images from China of temperature checks outside of restaurants and stores have been a mainstay of the coronavirus outbreak.
Some observers believe the practice could become widespread in the United States as well once the outbreak is better managed and the country begins to ramp its economy back up.
Walmart will also make gloves and face masks available to workers who desire them “as supplies permit,” the company said.
“The masks will arrive in one-two weeks,” Walmart said. “They will be high-quality masks, but not N95 respirators—which should be reserved for at-risk healthcare workers.”
On Monday, Amazon warehouse employees and Instacart delivery workers joined protests seeking better safeguards against the virus and guaranteed paid leave.