THE LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK
Walmart Limiting Number of Customers in Stores Nationwide to 5 per 1,000 Square Feet
(A way to control the number of people in and out of the Clarion Walmart has already been put in place. Photo by Ron Wilshire)
Stores will allow no more than five customers for every 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity.
“To manage this restriction, the associates at a store will mark a queue at a single-entry door (in most cases the grocery entrance) and direct customers there where they will be admitted one-by-one and counted,” Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S., said on the company’s website. “Once a store reaches its capacity, customers will be admitted inside on a ‘1-out-1-in basis.”
Associates and signage will remind customers of the importance of social distancing while they’re waiting to enter a store – especially before it opens in the morning, according to Smith.
SHOPPING INSIDE THE STORE WILL CHANGE NEXT WEEK IN A NUMBER OF STORES
Walmart is also planning on instituting one-way movement through the store aisles starting next week in a number of stores using floor markers and direction from associates.
“We expect this to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop,” Smith said.
According to Smith, Walmart will continue to put signage inside its stores to remind customers of the need to maintain social distancing, especially in lines.
“Once customers check out, 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,” Smith said.
Smith said Walmart always wants people to feel welcome at its stores and knows that in ordinary times a store is a gathering place for members of a community to connect and socialize.
“We look forward to the time when that is again the case,” Smith said. “However, we now want to prioritize health and safety by encouraging customers to do their shopping at a distance from others then head home.”
Smith said that as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, Walmart leaders and operations teams will continue to listen to advice from medical experts, associates, and customers, and consider how they can best serve people while helping slow the spread of the virus.
“The health and safety of our associates and customers are what matters the most,” Smith said.
According to Smith, Walmart believed the change was a necessary step to keep its customers and associates safe.
“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,” Smith said.
“We want to encourage customers to bring the fewest number of people per family necessary to shop, allow for space with other customers while shopping, and practice social distancing while waiting in lines. We’re also seeing states and municipalities set varying policies regarding crowd control – which has created some confusion regarding shopping.”
The plan announced Friday nationwide, may have been given to Walmart stores in advance of the announcement.
On Thursday, April 2, there was conflicting information coming from the Clarion Walmart.
Multiple store associates told exploreClarion.com that the store was going to be limiting itself to 50 customers at one time. However, that information was later refuted by a store manager, who told exploreClarion.com that information was incorrect. Later in the day on Thursday, a Walmart media representative later told exploreClarion.com to be on the lookout for further information on Friday, which was then given limiting stores to the no more than five customers per 1,000 square feet rule.
Copyright © 2020 EYT Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Any copying, redistribution or retransmission of the contents of this service without the express written consent of EYT Media Group, Inc. is expressly prohibited.