Grocery stores around the country have been nearly wiped out amid panic-buying due to the coronavirus, including shopping giant Walmart. On Thursday, the chain announced that it will hire 150,000 temporary workers by the end of May to work in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.
"These roles will be temporary at first, but many will convert to permanent roles over time," Walmart said in a press release, via CNN Business. "We've reached out to industry groups representing restaurants and hospitality to facilitate temporary roles that can be a bridge for their employees during this difficult time."
The company is implementing a new process to expedite hiring for key roles and will reduce a two-week application cycle to a 24-hour process. The move is "aimed at helping put Americans to work, while helping Walmart better serve customers during this time of increased demand."
"We know millions of Americans who are usually employed at this time are temporarily out of work, and at the same time we're currently seeing strong demand in our stores," said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart. "We're looking for people who see Walmart as a chance to earn some extra money and perform a vital service to their community."
Walmart also announced that it will give employees cash bonuses totaling nearly $550 million for hourly associates. All U.S. hourly associates in stores, clubs, supply chain and offices will be included and the bonus will be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates. Walmart will also speed up the next scheduled quarterly bonus for associates.
In additional efforts amid the coronavirus, the store has limited purchases for certain high-demand products including paper products, hand sanitizer, milk and eggs. The chain has also shortened its hours to 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in many of its 4,700 U.S. stores as of Thursday, March 19. The company said that the new hours will be in effect until further notice and will "further help" employees restock shelves overnight and clean stores, CNN Business reports.
Walmart will also introduce special shopping hours for customers age 60, opening the store one hour early every Tuesday from March 24 through April 28. Several other major grocery stores have also instituted similar measures.
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