(New York) Two major US employers took new action Friday against the Delta variant: Walmart asked all of its employees to return the mask in areas where the coronavirus is virulent while Disney made the vaccine mandatory for all of its employees.
The decisions come days after new recommendations from the leading US federal public health agency (CDC), which once again called for masks to be worn indoors in areas where the virus is spreading, even for people with disabilities.
For customers, US number one Walmart plans to post stickers at the entrance to its premises to “aggressively” encourage them to cover the lower part of the face without forcing them to do so.
But mask-wearing will be required for employees working in supermarkets, warehouses and offices, whether they have received the serum or not, Walmart specifies on its website.
The company, which has repeatedly set the tone for instructions to follow since the start of the pandemic, will mark the respective regions each week, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on transmission rates.
Last summer, when in the United States the mask became a symbol of political affiliation among supporters and opponents of Trump, Walmart took a stand by making it mandatory to wear it in its stores, at the risk of angering some of its customers.
In May, a day after the CDC announced an relaxation of mask recommendations, the group decided that face protection was no longer mandatory in its stores, but remained strict when local law required it.
The spread of the delta variant, which has caused the emergence of COVID-19 cases around the world, has changed the rules of the game in recent days.
Disney also this week reintroduced the mask on its indoor visitors at its theme parks.
On Friday, the entertainment giant gave all of its non-union employees 60 days to get full vaccinations and began talks for union employees.
“Vaccines are the best tool we have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees,” the group said in a statement.
Google and Facebook also announced on Wednesday that they will require all of their employees brought to their workplaces to be vaccinated.
Uber followed suit Thursday, according to US media.
According to an internal memo seen by AFP, Walmart will also require employees working in headquarters and those who work in regional offices and who travel regularly to be vaccinated by October 4.
To encourage employees working in its stores, the group doubled the vaccination premium to $150.
Twitter, for its part, decided to close its New York and San Francisco offices, suspending all plans to reopen other sites.
Officials not left out: Joe Biden took a series of measures Thursday to boost vaccination in the United States, including requiring millions of federal employees to either vaccinate or wear masks in ongoing and regular testing.
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