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Walmart reverses mask policy, change could affect Central Texas stores

Walmart reversed its mask policy Friday and will require all workers in areas with high...
Walmart reversed its mask policy Friday and will require all workers in areas with high infection rates, such as are emerging in Central Texas, to wear masks. (File)
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 10:54 AM CDT
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(KWTX) Walmart Friday reversed its mask policy and will require all workers in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates including those who are vaccinated to wear masks.

Store managers will refer to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website every Monday to check for updates on infection rates, the company said.

The agency’s COVID data tracker Friday showed high levels of community transmission in Bell, Bosque Coryell, Freestone, Hamilton, Hill, Lampasas Leon, Limestone, McLennan, Milam, Navarro, Robertson and San Saba counties.

The tracker showed Falls County with substantial community transmission and Mills County with moderate transmission.

The company didn’t immediately reveal the threshold for the employee mask requirement, but said the requirement does not apply to customers.

Walmart, however, is encouraging mask use by customers who shop at stores in areas with rising numbers of cases of the Delta variant of the virus.

The company is also increasing the incentive for workers in stores, clubs, transportation, distribution center and fulfillment centers to get the vaccine to $150.

More than 3,600 active cases of the virus have been confirmed in the 16 Central Texas counties KWTX is monitoring.

New cases and hospitalizations have risen sharply in Bell, Coryell, Limestone and McLennan counties.

The move Friday comes 11 weeks after Walmart dropped its customer mask requirement, and just days after the CDC changed course in its mask guidance, recommending that even fully vaccinated people who should masks in doors where the delta variant is fueling surges in infections.

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