Implementing a policy it first announced in a news release last Friday, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) now requires all of its employees to wear protective face masks on the job. Masks or similar coverings for the face are mandatory at all of its locations, from corporate offices and distribution centers to the stores where associates actually come in daily contact with customers.

The requirement went into force yesterday, April 20, as scheduled last week. The company now calls on its workers to wear "masks or other face coverings." The news release goes on to explain associates can choose to wear a DIY mask if it meets "certain guidelines." Since Walmart is following CDC recommendations, homemade cloth face protection meeting the CDC's instructional guidelines might be acceptable.

A Walmart employee wearing a mask and plastic gloves.

Image source: Walmart

Similar items are offered by thousands of private sellers on sites like Etsy. For those who do not wish to supply their own masks or are unable to do so, Walmart will hand out face protection to these employees when they receive their temperature scan and health check on arrival at work.

The retail giant also asks its customers to wear masks while shopping at its locations. In its news release, it explains: "[W]e believe it is simply in everyone's best interest to use masks or face coverings to curb the spread of this disease." The measure supplements other precautions, such as the recent introduction of a special one-hour pickup period reserved for at-risk people such as seniors. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.