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Home Depot asks employees to take temperatures before coming to work, will limit traffic

An employee wears an orange Home Depot Inc. apron at a store in New York.

Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Home Depot has a new policy for store employees: take your temperature before going to work.

The home improvement retailer said in a Wednesday news release that it’s distributing thermometers to employees who work in stores and distribution centers. The company asking employees to use the forehead thermometers at home to check for a fever, a symptom of COVID-19. 

Home Depot said it’s limiting the number of customers, too. Stores will be kept to 100 people at a time, and other customers will be asked to wait outside and remain socially distanced from one another, company spokeswoman Sara Gorman said. Its stores average about 100,000 square feet, she said. During the spring — the retailer’s busiest season — the company said it is canceling major promotions that drive foot traffic to stores, such as Black Friday-like events.

Home Depot has about 400,000 store employees in the U.S.

Home Depot has also given employees additional paid time off during the coronavirus pandemic. Full-time hourly associates have 80 hours of paid time off and part-time employees have 40 hours.

If employees are age 65 or older or at higher risk of becoming sick with the coronavirus, the retailer is providing 160 hours of paid time off to full-time employees and 80 hours to part-time employees. If they do not use the paid time off in 2020, Home Depot will pay it out at year-end.

Home Depot is also paying employees who get the coronavirus until they’re released by a doctor and paying up to 14 days to those required to be quarantined by public health officials.

On Tuesday, Walmart announced it would start taking temperatures of employees at stores, distribution centers and fulfillment centers when they report to work. The company said it’s sending infrared thermometers to facilities across the country over the next few weeks.

Walmart’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, Dan Bartlett, said the company will designate an employee to check the temperature of workers. The temperature taking will start first in distribution centers and coronavirus hotspots, such as New York and Louisiana.

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