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8 Ways to Shop Safely at Walmart Right Now

Here's how to prepare for an easy and safe shopping trip.

While you've likely gone on several grocery shopping expeditions during the pandemic and stuck to safe shopping guidelines, if you're planning a shopping trip to Walmart you may want to keep in mind some best shopping practices related specifically to the retail giant.

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Mask up or stay out

woman shopping in surgical mask at grocery store
Shutterstock/eldar nurkovic

Walmart implemented a nationwide mask mandate for customers in the summer, and the policy is enforced by the retailer's Health Ambassadors—associates who are tasked with ensuring the mask rule is followed by all shoppers. Not only does mask-wearing protect those around you, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently stated there is sufficient evidence to claim masks protect those who wear them, too. Additionally, Walmart has put sneeze guards in checkout lanes and pharmacy areas.

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Keep the distance

distancing walmart shopping
Courtesy of Walmart

The retailer has gone through great lengths to strongly encourage social distancing at all their locations. While they stopped using one-way aisle stickers (a measure which continued to cause controversy), you'll still find social distancing prompts around the store, as well as receive friendly reminders from Health Ambassadors when you've violated the 6-feet-apart rule.

Stay home if you're sick

walmart storefront

While this sounds like a common-sense request, Walmart is asking customers to stay home if they are suffering a fever of 100 degrees or above. If you're feeling under the weather, take your temperature and opt for online shopping instead.

Shop when it's less crowded

distancing walmart
Courtesy Of Walmart

Walmart recently expanded its pandemic store hours to 7 am to 11 pm unless otherwise mandated by a government agency. This gives customers a wider window to shop and avoid crowds. Grocery stores are usually less crowded right when they open, so it's best to plan your Walmart trip as early as possible. Another benefit of shopping early in the day is that you can bet on the store is at its cleanest and well-stocked right after opening.

Walmart also continues to host special store hours on Tuesdays, reserved for seniors, people with disabilities, and others designated as high-risk by the CDC. Check your local Walmart for details.

Be prepared to shop fast

Shopping list

During a time when it's best to keep your exposure to others at a minimum, shopping with a grocery list in hand is crucial. This is not the time to peruse the aisles endlessly exploring what's on offer or planning your dinner while in-store. An airtight grocery shopping list will help you get in and out of Walmart quickly and efficiently. Get our tips on how to write an effective grocery shopping list.

Download the Walmart Pay app

walmart app
Courtesy of Walmart

While it's best to use a credit card and avoid exchanging cash with your store clerk during shopping transactions, Walmart has gone a step further. You can download the Walmart Pay app on your phone and use it for a touch-free checkout at self-checkouts. You'll simply scan your phone at the register, without having to reach for your wallet or swipe your credit card. You can get the app from the app store.

Come by yourself or in smallest possible groups

hands on shopping cart

If at all possible, it's best to leave your children at home, and come shopping by yourself or in smallest possible groups. This will allow you to get in and out faster, but also limit the exposure of your family unit to COVID-19.

Opt for curbside pickup or home delivery

Walmart online grocery pickup
Courtesy of Walmart

Walmart provides safe and easy ways to shop remotely, and a growing number of customers are opting to stay safe by foregoing the trip to their store altogether and ordering online. The retailer offers robust curbside pickup hours, and you'll be prompted to reserve your time slot as you're checking out. Not to mention, Walmart now offers free next-day and 2-day shipping for home deliveries with its newly launched Walmart+ membership.

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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.
Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura
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