We’re not trying to be alarmists. It’s just that seeing people lined up outside a grocery store isn’t a good look.
Walmart announced Friday that starting this weekend, it will limit the amount of shoppers inside the store to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Though a statement from Walmart COO Dacona Smith indicates these guidelines would start Saturday, someone on Twitter spotted a queue of shoppers standing outside the Walmart in Saint Clair on Friday.
Walmart in St. Clair Pennsylvania Schuylkill County. We are called Skooks to those not from this part of Pa. pic.twitter.com/jF9MiewjEE
— P.T.Tucker 🇺🇸 (@PatrickTucker15) April 3, 2020
“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,” Smith says.
Again, these aren’t the “bread lines” that were hallmarks of the Great Depression. It’s just a sad sight to see our community reduced to this in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
New Walmart Coronavirus Shopping Rules
Here are the social distancing rules when going to shop at Walmart in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
5 Customers Per 1,000 Square Feet
Starting Saturday (or now here in Schuylkill County), Walmart will only allow 5 customers per 1,000 square feet of store space. Walmart says that’s 20% of an average store’s capacity.
Single Entry, Single Exit
Based on what we’re seeing and hearing, if you’re shopping the Walmart in Saint Clair, it appears the “grocery entrance” to the store will be the lone entrance. If the store hits its new maximum capacity, a store associate will stop the flow of shoppers inside. That means waiting in line outside the store. Shoppers will be ushered through the “pharmacy” side entrance from the Saint Clair Walmart.
1 Out, 1 In
When the store hits its maximum capacity, shoppers will be allowed in after another leaves. We’re not sure if this means a family of shoppers will be counted as 1 shopper but to avoid hearing grief from the non-deputized social distance warriors out there, it’s best to limit your shopping team to just the necessary people.
“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,” Smith says in a statement from Walmart.
Expect to see one-way shopping aisles through the store. Walmart is doing this to avoid shoppers crossing paths too often. They ask that people not ride up on other shoppers if they’re trying to navigate these shopping aisles.
Social Distancing Everywhere
Walmart expects shoppers to maintain the recommended 6 feet of social distancing from each other in the store, including the checkout lines. It didn’t appear to be adhered to in that line outside the store, though.