World Retail workers may face a higher risk than shoppers of catching COVID-19 on Black Friday, even as stores like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy increase safety measures
'Starvation wages': Walmart and McDonald's among firms with the most workers on food stamps and Medicaid, according to a Bernie Sanders-commissioned report
Walmart and McDonald's are among the companies with most workers on federally-funded social safety net programs to help pay for healthcare and food assistance, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Thousands of people working at the chains are on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food stamps and Medicaid, the watchdog found. Walmart was in the top four employers of Medicaid and SNAP recipients in each of the states analysed in the report. "Giant corporations pay starvation wages - wages so low their workers have to rely on Medicaid and food stamps to survive," said Sen.
- Retail workers may face a higher risk than shoppers of catching COVID-19 on Black Friday and during the extended holiday shopping season.
- Workers spend more time than shoppers in enclosed spaces, where the virus thrives, and are likely to come into contact with multiple people during their shifts.
- Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have . The companies did not respond to requests for comment on any additional plans to protect workers.
- The National Retail Federation found that 50% of major retailers said they would not hire additional security to specifically enforce "social distancing and face covering requirements among customers."
Retail workers are gearing up for an unprecedented â€" and potentially dangerous â€" Black Friday.
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Stores like Best Buy, Walmart, and Target will open later and spread deals across several days or weeks this year to. The stores have also increased curbside delivery and .
But any kind of indoor shopping this Black Friday could be risky. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has labelled shopping. Reduced hours may even lead to , having the opposite effect than intended, experts previously told Business Insider's Mary Meisenzahl.
Despite the warning, 54 major retailers surveyed by the National Retail Federation said they had, with about two-thirds of retailers anticipating all of their stores to be open for the duration of the holiday shopping season. Of the retailers surveyed, 50% said they would not hire additional security to specifically enforce "social distancing and face covering requirements among customers."
The CDC classified Black Friday shopping as a 'higher-risk activity' — experts say masks and avoiding crowds are key
Black Friday looks totally different thanks to the coronavirus. The CDC has classified shopping in crowded stores as higher risk. Experts recommend avoiding crowds, wearing a mask, and having a plan. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. This year, the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) classified Black Friday shopping in crowded stores as a "higher-risk activity" along with "attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household." Shopping online is rated as "lower risk." It all means the shopping holiday the day after Thanksgiving will look different this year.
Without safely reducing or eliminating crowds during Black Friday, frontline retail workers may have to brace for a dangerous working conditions.
If stores get busy on Black Friday, retail workers could be in a particularly dangerous situation.
Experts expectto continue as , despite the CDC's recommendation against it. The seven-day average of cases as was more than 169,000, an all-time high. At least , and the US for the first time recorded 1 million new COVID-19 cases .
Retail workers' risk of catching the virus is still difficult to quantify.recently reported most states provide limited data where outbreaks start. One in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that of 104 grocery workers tested in a Boston store, 20% had COVID-19 â€" "a significantly higher rate of infection" than that seen in surrounding communities.
Black Friday explained: Aussie retailers jump on board discount event
This year Black Friday is November 27, with sales going on offer across both physical and online shops until as late a Monday November 30.Originally a strictly American tradition, Black Friday is a shopping event that capitalised on Americans with time off due to Thanksgiving and a hankering to save big on early Christmas shopping.
But if stores get busy on Black Friday, in combination with the climbing case counts, retail workers could be in a particularly dangerous situation.
The coronavirus can, especially in enclosed, . For instance, if an infected shopper talks or coughs, they would release small microdroplets that may .
The CDC since May has recommendedas a way for employers to safely resume operations, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently .
Big-box stores like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have, but those plans did not appear to include additional precautions to protect employees, like increased air-circulation measures. Walmart and Target did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment on if they planned to hire additional security for enforcement of mask protocols and whether they had plans to ventilate stores. A representative for Best Buy directed us to , which Business Insider previously reported on.
COVID anxiety set to shake up how Americans shop on Black Friday
From fear of infection to financial insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic is changing how Americans shop this holiday.In past years it was something of a national sport, characterised by “doorbuster deals” that saw consumers fresh from turkey feasts line up for hours to get a head start on grabbing the best deals of the year.
Research has shown â€" andâ€" that . That means an employee who spends eight hours in the store interacting with many people in short spurts is more likely to contract the virus than one shopper who stops in for 15 minutes. reported in April that workers who faced the greatest risk of contracting the disease were those who spent "the most direct contact" with other people, like cashiers.
Workers at Target and Walmartthis spring over unsafe working conditions and a lack of paid sick leave for COVID-19. This summer, employees at Kroger, Costco, and Waffle House, among others, reported facing violence and assault when they .
At Amazon, Walmart, Petco, and PetSmart, employees have called for anin hazard pay for those working the holiday shopping season.
"When the CDC is saying that Americans should not gather our families for Thanksgiving dinner, I do not believe that Walmart should be trying to entice crowds into our stores on Black Friday, and risk a Walmart super-spreader event," Melissa Love, a Walmart worker part of the United for Respect advocacy group, said in a.
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