De Soto Walmart Supercenter

De Soto Walmart

Walmart will limit the number of customers allowed in its stores at one time, starting Saturday (April 4), to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the company announced.

Stores will allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity. A Walmart employee will keep count of how many people are allowed inside, and customers will be directed to a single-entry door – for most locations the grocery entrance. Once a store reaches capacity, customers will be allowed in on a “one-out-one-in” basis, the company reported.

After customers check out, they will be directed to exit through a different door than they entered, which should help lessen the chance of people closely passing each other. There will be signage at the store instructing customers to maintain a safe distance from each other, and employees will remind those waiting to enter to practice social distancing, keeping 6 feet away from others, the report said.

Walmart also said aisles will be marked for one-way movement in a number of its stores next week. The company said that will help promote social distancing and keep people at a safe distance from each other while shopping.

“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,” Dacona Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart US, said in a written statement. “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.”

Walmart’s announcement comes a day after Target said it will actively monitor and, when needed, meter guest traffic in its nearly 1,900 stores nationwide to promote social distancing. Target’s measure goes into effect on Saturday as well.

Both retail stores said employees will be provided face masks and gloves to wear at work, following healthy hygiene habits as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).