Walmart limits number of people in stores to combat COVID-19

Moss Brennan, Reporter

Walmart shoppers are greeted with a new site when they head to the store looking for necessities: shopping carts marking six feet of distance in a line leading to the entrance.

On April 3, Executive Vice President and CEO of Walmart U.S. Dacona Smith announced changes to the store’s shopping process to encourage social distancing.

“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,” Smith said in a press release.

Moss Brennan
Carts line the entrance to the grocery side of the Boone Walmart. The carts are there to limit the number of people in Walmart at a time.

Walmart will now allow just five customers per 1,000 square feet of each store which is roughly 20% of a Walmart store’s capacity.

The Boone Walmart is 147,902 square feet, which means roughly 735 people can be in the store at a time.

Associates mark a queue at a single-entry door and customers will be admitted one-by-one and counted. Once a store reaches its capacity, customers are admitted into the store on a one-in-one-out basis.

Inside the store, Walmart instituted a one-way movement inside the aisles using floor markers and direction from associates.

“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 said. “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.”

Managers at the Boone Walmart said that so far, everything has been “fine,” and they haven’t experienced any problems.

Senior Patrick Marquez said he is glad that Walmart is limiting the number of people inside the stores.

“I think it’s about time,” Marquez said. “I feel like they should have been doing this probably weeks ago, to be honest. Walmart is a crowded place usually, so it’s very good they are limiting people.”

Marquez said this was his third trip to Walmart during the quarantine and first since Walmart implemented these changes.

I think they should definitely keep putting in new rules for people,” Marquez said. “Maybe make it so you have to have something protecting your face before you come in.”