Walmart today announced new COVID-19 preventive measures the business will be implementing that will affect how shopping is conducted at the store. In the last few weeks, the business has adjusted the hours of operation and implemented additional sanitizing and preventive measures. Starting Saturday, April 4, Walmart Customer Entry will be regulated and some stores will also be implementing “one-way movement” through the aisles, according to a corporate news release.
Walmart US Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith in an April 3 news release explained the changes being made in an effort to “promote health, safety and consistency for our associates and customers,” by better helping to facilitate social distancing in Walmart stores.
“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. 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 news release by Smith stated.
Regulating Store Entry
According to the release, Walmart will begin limiting the number of customers who can be in a store at once starting Saturday. No more than five customers will be allowed per 1,000 square feet at a time, which is roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity, Smith stated in the release.
Customers will enter through a single marked entry door, the grocery entrance for many stores, and exit the store through another door. Customers will be admitted one-by-one and counted. After a store reaches that capacity, customers will be admitted on a “1-out-1-in” basis. They’ll exit through a different designated exit door after checking out. Store associates should be available to help direct customers to the proper doors
Shopping Inside the Store
Next week, Walmart also plans to “institute one-way movement” through store aisles using floor markers and direction from associates “in a number of our stores,” according to the corporate release. Ideally, one-way movement will “help customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop,” and thereby helping to facilitate social distancing.
After checking out, customer will be directed to the newly designated exit door as a means to “lessen the instances of people closely passing each other,” the release stated.
Sulphur Springs Store
An associate at Sulphur Springs Walmart confirmed the store will be limiting entry to the store starting Saturday, with only one person per household allowed in the store at a time.