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Walmart regulating number of customers in stores amid coronavirus outbreak

Stores will now allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity.

In an effort to promote health, safety, and consistency for Walmart associates and customers during the COVID-19 outbreak, Walmart has announced some new policies for US stores. 

"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," said Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer. 

Regulating Store Entry

Starting Saturday, Walmart will limit the number of customers who can be in a store at once. Stores will now allow no more than five customers for each 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 arriving customers there, where they will be admitted one-by-one and counted. 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.

Once a store reaches its capacity, customers will be admitted inside on a “1-out-1-in” basis.

Shopping Inside the Store

Walmart will also institute a one-way movement through its aisles next week in a number of stores, using floor markers and direction from associates. The effort is to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop.

Walmart says they will continue to put signage inside stores to remind customers of the need to maintain social distancing – especially in lines. In addition, once customers check out, they will be directed to exit through a different door than they entered, which is being implemented to help lessen the instances of people closely passing each other.

"We always want people to feel welcome at Walmart, and we know 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; 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. 

Click here to view the full Walmart release. 

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