Retail giant Walmart on Friday announced changes to its retail stores across the country. The changes are geared to protect staff and customers from the Wuhan coronavirus.
"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, said in a post on the company's website. "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."
Beginning Saturday, the number of customers will be limited to five customers per 1,000 square feet, which is about 20 percent of a store's capacity. How many people will be allowed in each store will vary depending on the individual store's size.
Each store will only have one entry and one exit. At that entrance, employees will count the number of people going into the store to make sure the 20 percent capacity rule is followed. Additional customers will be allowed in as others leave the building, following a one-in, one-out pattern.
The company is also implementing a one-way movement throughout each store. There will be floor markers and employees directing customers to make sure the pattern is followed.
Walmart has taken other precautions, like installing sneeze guards at registers, closing stores overnight to conduct deep cleaning and restocking shelves. The company has also begun taking employees' temperatures to monitor for potential cases of the Wuhan coronavirus. Walmart is also making gloves and masks available to employees who wish to wear them.