The shopping experience at Walmart will become decidedly more regulated in the days to come as the retailer moves to restrict the number inside of its stores at any one time.
In a news release on Friday, Walmart said that starting Saturday, it will limit the number of customers who can be in a store at once. Stores will now allow no more than five customers for every 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20% of a store’s capacity.
Kerrville's Home Depot is instituting a similar policy by only allowing 150 people in the store at any one time.
To manage this restriction, store employees 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.
Employees 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, the company said.
The biggest change, however, could be how people are allowed to shop.
The company will institute one-way movement through aisles next week in a number of our stores, using floor markers and direction from associates. It’s unclear if that will be rolled out in Kerrville.
“We expect this to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop,” said Dacona Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Walmart U.S.
“We’ll continue to put signage inside our stores to remind customers of the need to maintain social distancing – especially in lines. And 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.
The moves come after Walmart said it was facing different regulations in different parts of the country, and wanted to standardize the procedures at its stores nationwide.
“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,” Smith said. “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.”
In the last week, Walmart has expanded paid leave policies; closed stores overnight for cleanings and restocking; installed sneeze guards and social distance markers in stores; beginning temperature checks; and starting to make gloves and masks available to employees who want them.