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Walmart Says That Fewer Customers Will Be Allowed in Its Stores

World's largest retailer announces a new plan to limit exposure.
Walmart

Retail giant Walmart has announced new global policies for all of its locations in order to help ensure the safety of both shoppers and employees as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on daily life.

Dacona Smith, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Walmart U.S., just announced that two specific policies would go into place regarding regulated store entry and the specific manner in which consumers would be allowed to shop once inside the store.

To promote "health, safety and consistency for our associates and customers in this environment" Walmart will first alter the way that stores will allow consumers into each location. In short, much fewer shoppers will be allowed into the store. Smith explained:

Starting Saturday, we 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.

The second major adjustment to the consumer experience focuses on how shoppers travel through the store. Smith explains a "one-way movement" designed to limit interaction customers have with one another.

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We'll also institute one-way movement through our aisles next week in a number of our 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.

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.

"While many of our customers have been following the advice of the medical community regarding social distancing and safety," Smith wrote, adding "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, she continued. "We're also seeing states and municipalities set varying policies regarding crowd control–which has created some confusion regarding shopping."

READ MORE: 7 Tips for Safe Grocery Shopping Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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