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Nestlé Waters North America's Response to COVID-19

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Apr 07, 2020

Updated on 5/15/2020

All of us at Nestlé Waters North America share the global concerns of the public health impact of COVID-19. We continue to monitor the ever-evolving crisis across the country and take the necessary actions to help protect the health and safety of our people, customers and the communities where we operate.

As part of the food and grocery supply chain, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined that our extraordinary employees, who help keep store shelves stocked and deliver water directly to customers, are essential during this unprecedented time. We are grateful for our factory, distribution and retail sales teams who are working around the clock to produce, deliver and stock our water products for the Americans who are counting on us.

Protecting the Health and Safety of Our Employees and Our Customers

The health and safety of our people, customers and the communities where we operate is of the utmost importance to us. We are following the guidance from local public health experts, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) and have instituted further precautions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, we have:

  • Advised all of our employees to continue implementing everyday preventative actions that the CDC recommends, including frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds and consulting a doctor immediately if they start to exhibit flu-like symptoms.
  • Encouraged all employees to practice social distancing as much as possible, and employees who are able to do so to work from home.
  • Provided additional hand sanitization stations throughout our facilities
  • Increased to 24-hour cleaning for our factories with chlorine- and alcohol-based solutions, which means someone is always onsite cleaning and disinfecting the factory.
  • In our factories, we have converted meeting rooms into breakrooms and removed most chairs from each table to enable employees to spread out when eating lunch or taking a break.
  • Staggered employee schedules to minimize interaction and have moved time clocks to be 20 feet apart to create social distance.
  • Adjusted residential deliveries of our ReadyRefresh beverage delivery service to leave customer orders outside their door and identified a single drop-off location for bulk deliveries at commercial locations so that we can provide necessary water while minimizing unnecessary human contact.
  • Temporarily suspended all residential ReadyRefresh Pro Clean Services for our water dispensers to help enable social distancing.
  • Provided all drivers access to various sanitization supplies and PPE, such as hand sanitizer, soap and water solution, masks and gloves.

 

Supporting our Employees in this Challenging Time

As employees rise to the new challenges this crisis brings, we are providing extra support to make sure they are properly taken care of. Here’s how we’re supporting them:

  • Guaranteeing 12 weeks of regular wages in the event of a full or partial facility closure.
  • Paying eligible frontline employees an additional 12% of their earnings for at least 12 weeks.
  • Providing additional time off without reducing sick or vacation balances if they are impacted by coronavirus.
  • Expanded health benefits for telemedicine and prescription delivery, mental health care, childcare, and covering medically necessary testing for COVID-19 at no cost.
  • Increased the number of Employee Assistance Program counseling visits during this period of time from 5 to 10 visits, free of charge to employees.
  • Continuing to hire, train and support thousands of employees across our business.


Giving Back to the Communities Where We Operate

In addition to delivering our bottled water products to customers throughout the country, we are also identifying ways to give back to the communities where we operate. For detailed information on how we are helping those in need during these challenging times, click here.

Helping to Ensure Product Safety

Nestlé applies very strict hygiene measures in all of our factories. As part of our standard operating procedure, Nestlé Waters North America factory employees already wear gloves and wash their hands before starting their shifts. In response to COVID-19, we are supplying employees with masks, we have increased the frequency of our factory-wide cleaning with chlorine- and alcohol-based solutions and have provided additional hand sanitization stations throughout our factories.

It is important to note that all Nestlé Waters North America bottled water products remain safe for consumption. The CDC and FDA have confirmed that there is currently no evidence of food and beverages processed in facilities being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. The virus cannot survive in packaged food and beverages, including bottled water.

Preventing Price Manipulation in the Marketplace

Pricing for consumer retail sales of bottled water is set by retailers. While some retailers may charge slightly more to compensate for their increased costs during times of increased consumer demand, there are also some unscrupulous retailers who dramatically increase pricing in an act of “price gouging.” Nestlé Waters is strongly opposed to price gouging on our products. We encourage consumers to report any instance of price gouging to their state Attorney General.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate this challenging situation together.