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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/MICHAEL WOODS @NWAMICHAELW The Walmart Home office Friday, January 20, 2017 in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Walmart Inc. said Friday that its U.S. office employees will keep working remotely until July 5, revising an earlier estimated target of Jan. 31 as the coronavirus continues to surge across the country.

Donna Morris, Walmart's chief people officer, said in a memo to workers that regions where covid-19 cases are rising include the states where most of its corporate workers are -- Arkansas, California, New Jersey and New York.

Despite promising news regarding vaccines, "health experts suggest broad access will likely take a number of months," Morris said. As a result, she said, employees will continue working "in a primarily remote manner until July 5," when the company expects to start phasing workers back into its offices.

The Bentonville-based retailer will keep employees updated, Morris said, and if circumstances allow a transition back to offices sooner, the company will be flexible regarding workers' personal needs.

Morris also said that starting Monday, all corporate office workers who test positive for the virus are asked to report their cases through the company's confidential self-reporting portal.

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