Walmart, Starbucks And Others Face A New Coronavirus Challenge: Sick Workers And Fearful Customers


An Uber driver. A Starbucks barista. A Walmart store employee.

Retailers, fast-food chains and customer service-related companies face a new challenge as the coronavirus outbreak spreads in the U.S.: Some of their workers are getting sick.

Walmart became one of the latest U.S. companies to confirm it had a sick employee on Monday. The female employee works in Cynthiana, a small town about 30 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky. She became the state’s first resident to test positive for COVID-19.

The coronavirus outbreak has changed how consumer-facing brands do business in recent weeks. Starbucks and Dunkin’ banned reusable mugs. McDonald’s stepped up frequency of cleaning. Some Taco Bell and Wendy’s franchises are using tamper-proof packaging to keep delivery drivers from swiping fries.

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