Walmart corporate officials announced Friday that the company will limit the number of customers in its store at any one time starting Saturday, April 4.
“Stores will now allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time,” Walmart’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith said in a statement posted to the corporate website. “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.”
To manage customer entry, store workers will staff a single entry point and direct customers to line up for admission into the store. Once the store is at capacity, new customers will be let in on a “one in, one out” basis, according to the statement.
“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,” Smith added.
Some stores will also change traffic in their aisles to one way only to further limit person-to-person contact.
Walmart is also sending infrared thermometers to its stores and distribution centers over the next three weeks so staff can start taking employees’ temperature when they show up for work, corporate leaders announced earlier this week.
Employees who register a temperature of at least 100 degrees “will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home and seek medical treatment if necessary,” according to this week's statement from Walmart President and CEO John Furner and Sam’s Club President and CEO Kath McLay. Employees who have to go home won’t be allowed to return to work until they’ve had no fever for at least three days.
The corporation is also sending masks, which are expected to arrive in a week or two and will be available as supplies permit for any employees who want to wear them, according to the statement. Gloves will also be available.
Walmart announced March 18 that its hours are changing to be open 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. That announcement indicated workers would still “have access to their regular scheduled shifts and full hours.”
Stores also implemented special shopping hours one hour before opening on Tuesdays through April 28 for customers ages 60 and up, who are considered more vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Walmart operates two supercenters in Parker County: one off South Main Street in Weatherford and the other off of East I-20 in Hudson Oaks.