‘Every Day Is Frightening’: Working For Walmart Amid Covid-19 Crisis
Enlarge this image toggle caption Andrew Harnik/AP Andrew Harnik/AP
On most days, it’s not a problem.
In some areas, at Walmart, there are long lines at the checkout counter, some employees are wearing protective masks and the store’s other employees are wearing gloves and hats.
Other days, it is a nightmare.
On Thursday, the store was packed with customers and employees as workers at the company’s distribution center in New Jersey began assembling cases of toilet paper.
One of the company’s warehouses in Delaware was flooded. Employees had to stay in isolation in the facility to deal with the rising water.
These are the ways that Walmart is coping with a global health crisis. The retail giant is hoping to stay on track.
“It’s a real-time, evolving effort,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on a conference call Thursday with reporters from around the world.
When Walmart began announcing new coronavirus cases in mid-March, the company was already preparing for an outbreak. By mid-April, the company said the number of cases had risen to more than 4,500. Then, on Friday, the number of cases went over 15,000 and the online retailer started adding new tests to its automated order-management system after getting an early warning of the virus. And as of this week, there are more than 19,000 cases of Covid-19.
To some extent, Walmart has already been doing this for quite some time.
In the U.S., Walmart has made it easy to get tests, which have been available for people who might be at higher risk for infection. The store has also created mobile tests and sent out health kits through the mail.
“Walmart is very actively working to make sure they have the capacity to provide safe, secure access to testing for their customers,” said Mark Moran, chief of public health and safety at Walmart.
This week, Walmart has deployed more than