Walmart has announced it will start limiting the number of customers who are allowed in its stores at one time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a news release Friday, the retailer said starting Saturday, stores will allow no more than five customers per 1,000-square-feet at a given time. The release says that will put each store at about 20% of capacity. Employees will mark a line at a single-entry door, which will be set up at the grocery entrance for most stores, and direct customers from there. Customers will be allowed in one by one and counted. Customers will be allowed in on a one in, one out basis.
Signs will also be in place to remind customers about the importance of social distancing while they're waiting to enter stores.
In Friday's news release, Walmart U.S. CFO Dacona Smith says: "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."
While shopping inside the store, the news release says a number of stores will have one-way movement, with marks on the floor and instruction from employees to direct customers so they can "avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop."
Signs will also be placed inside stores to remind them about social distancing, especially in lines. Once customers finish shopping, Walmart says they will be told to exit through a different door than the one through which they entered. That "should help lessen the instances of people closely passing each other," the release says.
"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 says in the news release. "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."