People wait as an employee restocks a shelf with disinfectant wipes as people shop at a Walmart Supercentre amid coronavirus fears spreading in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 13, 2020.

Carlos Osorio | Reuters

Walmart said it will soon start taking temperatures and doing basic health screenings of employees to detect workers who may be sick with COVID-19.

The retailer also said it’s ordering masks for employees and will offer masks and gloves for them to wear, if they choose. 

In a post on Walmart’s website, John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., and Kath McLay, president and CEO of Sam’s Club, said the additional steps are new ways the retailer is trying to keep employees safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Furner and McLay said the company is shipping infrared thermometers to all locations, which could take up to three weeks. Walmart will start taking temperatures and doing basic health screenings of all employees who report to work at stores, clubs and facilities.

If an employee has a temperature of 100.0 degrees or more, he or she will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home or get medical care. Employees with a high temperature won’t be allowed to return to work until they’re fever-free for at least three days.

Walmart has also ordered masks, which it will have for employees in 1-2 weeks. The company said the masks will be high-quality, but not the N95 respirators that at-risk health-care workers need.

Over the past few weeks, Walmart has rolled out numerous new measures in response to a surge of grocery sales and a growing number of coronavirus cases across the country. It’s reduced store hours to allow more cleaning and restocking. It’s starting installing sneeze guards at checkout and pharmacies. It’s added signs reminding customers to socially distance. It’s also added an emergency leave policy during the pandemic that pays employees for up to two weeks if they become sick with the coronavirus or have to quarantine.

Walmart also announced special bonuses of $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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