As one of the handful of essential services, Walmart stores remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. With that comes adjustments to keep both customers and employees safe. Over the last month, that has involved closing 24-hour locations overnight for cleaning and restocking, putting in social distance markings and sneeze guards, checking employees for temperature and other health markings before starting work, and making gloves and masks available to associates who want them.
A new one begins this weekend by limiting the number of shoppers in the store at one time, based on the store’s size.
Beginning Saturday, stores will allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20 percent of capacity. Customers will be directed inside through a single-entry door, generally the grocery entrance, and admitted one-by-one and counted. Once a store reaches its capacity, customers will be admitted inside on a “1-out-1-in” basis. Customers are encouraged to bring the fewest number of people per family necessary to shop to keep the counts and lines moving.
“While many of our customers have been following the advice of the medical community regarding social distancing and safety, we have been concerned to still see some behaviors in our stores that put undue risk on our people,” Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, wrote in a company release Friday. “We’re also seeing states and municipalities set varying policies regarding crowd control – which has created some confusion regarding shopping.”
Stores will also institute one-way movement through the aisles in a number of our stores, using floor markers and direction from associates, to try to keep customers away from close contact with others as they shop. At checkout, they will be directed to exit through a different door than they entered, which should help lessen the instances of people closely passing each other.
Thanks to Walmart for working to keep its employees and customers as safe as possible through this unprecedented health outbreak and making a positive difference in communities across the county — and country.