Walmart and Target are making more changes to the shopping experience due to the coronavirus.
In recent weeks, Walmart has taken several steps during the COVID-19 pandemic including installing sneeze guards and social distance markers in stores; beginning temperature checks; and starting to make gloves and masks available to associates who want them.
Walmart Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dacona Smith, has announced some new measures Walmart is taking to encourage social distancing.
“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.”
Here are the new steps Walmart is taking in their United States stores.
Starting April 4th, 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.
Walmart associates 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.
Walmart is also instituting one-way movement through store aisles next week in a number of stores, using floor markers and direction from associates to help avoid customers coming into close contact with each other as they shop.
Once customers check out, they will be directed to exit through a different door than they entered to help lessen the instances of people closely passing each other.
Also effective April 4th, Target will actively monitor and, when needed, meter guest traffic in its nearly 1,900 stores nationwide to promote social distancing. Additionally, Target will supply its more than 350,000 team members in stores and distribution centers with face masks and gloves to wear at work, while continuing to encourage healthy hygiene habits as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Occupancy limits will vary by location and be determined by the store’s specific square footage to enhance the average space per person and reduce the possibility of congestion. If metering is required, a Target team member will provide a designated waiting area outside with social distancing markers.
This new process will take place for an undetermined amount of time at both retailers.