comScore Walmart's New Coronavirus Rules: What You Need to Know

Walmart Makes New Coronavirus Rules for Customers; Here’s What You Need to Know

Walmart shoppers in New York during Coronavirus outbreak

Al Bello, Getty Images

“Starting Saturday, we will limit the number of customers who can be in a store at once,” Walmart announced on Friday. It’s the latest in a long line of changes to how big companies operate under the restrictions of social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and quarantines.

“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,” says the statement issued by the world’s largest retailer.

The press release from Walmart outlined some of the measures taken by the company to safeguard its own employees, and then offered a rationale for what is really a major alteration in how people will shop.

We care deeply about our associates’ health and well-being, and in recent weeks we’ve taken steps such as expanding our paid leave policies; closing our stores overnight for cleanings and restocking; installing sneeze guards and social distance markers in stores; beginning temperature checks; and starting to make gloves and masks available to associates who want them.

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. 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. We’re also seeing states and municipalities set varying policies regarding crowd control – which has created some confusion regarding shopping.

The company will regulate entry by creating a line, basically.

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.

There will also be new policy regarding how to shop once you get into the store.

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.

Best Buy, Target, and other big box stores have taken similar measures, CNN pointed out on Saturday.

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