Local retailers to begin limiting store entry on April 4

By Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor

Local retailers, including Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, and Menards, are beginning to limit people in their stores.

A release from Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Walmart U.S., announced that the retailer would begin limiting the amount of people allowed into their stores on April 4.

“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.

To promote health, safety and consistency for our associates and customers in this environment, we’re taking some further steps for our U.S. stores: 

Regulating Store Entry

Starting Saturday, we will limit the number of customers who can be in a store at once. 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.

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.

Shopping Inside 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.

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. 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.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, our leaders and operations teams will continue to listen to advice from medical experts, associates and customers, and consider how we can best serve people while helping slow the spread of the virus. The health and safety of our associates and customers is what matters the most.”

Sam’s Club, owned by the Walmart Corporation, will also be limiting the number allowed in to 100 customers at a time, and is asking that no more than two people per membership card come at any given time.

In a corporate release from Target, they announced they will also begin monitoring And limiting the amount of people in their stores. “To promote social distancing with its team and guests, Target will monitor store traffic, and meter, or limit, the number of guests inside stores, when needed. Occupancy limits will vary by location and be determined by the store’s specific square footage to enhance the average space per person and reduce the possibility of congestion. If metering is required, a Target team member will provide a designated waiting area outside with social distancing markers.”

Sources at the Shiloh Target said the limiting would begin on April 4, but they had no more specific details.

Menards also began limiting this week, however, they ask that no one under the age of 16 enter the stores. “We are no longer able to allow children under the age of 16, nor pets, in any of our stores due to the COVID-19 crisis. We absolutely love families, but need to lessen the number of people shopping in our stores, and I think it goes without saying that children need to be protected from people,” wrote Menards Spokesman Jeff Abbott.

The limitations come as hundreds of people continue to flock to stores. In Vermont, retailers were ordered to stop selling anything that wasn’t considered to be essential goods.