As the situation around the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, our paramount concern has been for the health and safety of our customers and associates.
Several weeks ago, The Home Depot established a task force led by our Medical Health Management team to plan for the potential impacts of COVID-19. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the precautions we’re taking across our business.
Store Hours, Cleaning & Social Distancing:
We’re temporarily adjusting store hours to better serve customers and communities in response to COVID-19. Our stores now close daily at 6 p.m., while opening hours will remain unchanged.
As an essential retailer to the communities we serve, we’re committed to keeping stores open just as we always do during times of crisis and natural disaster. Homeowners and businesses depend on us for urgent needs such as hot water heaters, refrigerators, cleaning supplies, electrical and plumbing repairs, and harsh weather items like tarps, propane and batteries.
The adjusted hours give stores the ability to staff appropriately and provide additional time to restock shelves and perform cleaning. As part of our normal practice, our stores and other facilities are cleaned and sanitized daily. Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we’ve increased the frequency of cleaning and general hygiene maintenance in stores and other locations. We’ve also stepped up our efforts to disinfect high-traffic and high-touch areas like self-checkout, door handles, and bathrooms, as well as posting signage about handwashing and other preventative actions.
We’re promoting social and physical distancing in our stores and distribution centers, which includes stores limiting the number of customers inside at any given time. In addition to training our associates on social distancing, we’ve placed distancing markers at some of our checkout counters and are making overhead announcements on our store PA systems asking customers to practice physical distancing.
We’ve expanded our paid time off policy to address the needs of hourly associates to help alleviate some of the challenges they may be facing as a result of COVID-19. All hourly full-time associates received an additional 80 hours of paid time off, and part-time hourly associates received an additional 40 hours of paid time off.
Because the CDC identifies older Americans among those most at risk from COVID-19, associates who are 65 or older were given additional paid time off. Full-time hourly associates who are 65 or older received an additional 80 hours of paid time off (for a total of 160 hours of additional paid time off) and part-time hourly associates who are 65 or older received an additional 40 hours of paid time off (for a total of 80 hours of paid time off). This incremental PTO can be used anytime, for any reason, between now and the end of the year.
If associates are diagnosed with COVID-19 or advised by health or government officials to self-quarantine due to direct COVID-19 exposure, they’ll continue to be paid during that time. And as always, we’re encouraging associates who are sick to stay home.
To help support our associates, we’ve also implemented a temporary bonus program for all hourly associates working in stores and distribution centers. From March 23 through April 19, hourly associates who work more than 35 hours per week will receive an additional $100 per week, while hourly associates who work 20 to 35 hours per week will receive an additional $50 per week. This bonus program applies to full-time, part-time and seasonal positions, including new associates. We’re also offering double-time pay to hourly associates for overtime hours worked between March 25 and April 30.
We’ve been prioritizing shipments of essential supplies to hospitals and first responders, so inventory on items like face masks, hand sanitizers and other cleaning supplies may vary across our stores and online.
Our merchants and supply chain teams are prioritizing replenishment and restocking as quickly as possible.
We have temporarily postponed or cancelled several large external and internal gatherings that would have been held in our stores, office locations and off-site venues. For example, we have temporarily paused our in-store Workshops, which are often attended by well over 100 people at a time.
Deliveries & In-Home Service:
If customers have an installation or other in-home service scheduled and want to postpone to a later date, we’ll be happy to reschedule. We’ve advised all delivery and Home Services associates to follow everyday preventive actions including washing hands often, disinfecting frequently touched objects, and carrying hand sanitizer.
If you have questions about a delivery, online order or other customer concern, please visit our Help and Customer Service Center.
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published March 12th, was updated March 18th and has been updated with the latest info from Home Depot again on March 27th.