Walmart, Target to limit number of people in stores as retailers encourage social distancing

Walmart, Target to limit number of people in stores as retailers encourage social distancing
Walmart (Source: Walmart corporate website)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WYFF) - Walmart and Target, two of the nation’s largest retailers, announced Thursday that they will begin implementing new guidelines as it tries to keep both customers and its employees safe in the coronavirus outbreak.

Beginning April 4, Walmart says 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.

To manage this restriction, Walmart says its employees will mark a queue at a single-entry door, in most cases at 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 says it will also institute one-way movement through its aisles in a number of stores next week, using floor markers and direction from associates. The retailer says it expect this to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop.

Target says its stores will, when needed, limit the total number of people inside based on the location's specific square footage beginning Saturday as well. The company also says it will begin providing both store and distribution center employees with face masks and gloves at the beginning of every shift.

“We’re incredibly proud of the commitment our more than 350,000 frontline team members have demonstrated to ensure millions of guests can count on Target, and we’ll continue to focus our efforts on supporting them,” Target CEO John Mulligan said. “The measures we’re announcing today are aimed at ensuring we are creating a safe environment for the guests who continue to turn to Target, while also providing our team with additional resources as they fulfill an essential service in communities across the country.”

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