To promote public health and consumer safety, Walmart announced on Friday that it would implement two new changes to the shopping experience at over 4,000 stores across the country.
Beginning on Saturday, April 4, Walmart locations will begin limiting the amount of people inside of a given store at one time. The number of people allowed in a store will be determined by the location’s square footage, with a maximum of five people allowed per 1,000 square feet of store space.
This means that the average Walmart supercenter will be limited to 900 customers at a given time, according to calculations by Fox News. The average Walmart Neighborhood market, which is significantly smaller than a supercenter, would limit the number to about 200 shoppers at a time, according to square footage calculations performed by Business Insider in 2015.
According to a press release, Walmart will have customers wait in a line outside when the store reaches full capacity, and admit shoppers “one-by-one” as other shoppers leave the store. In addition to the new limit on customers, Walmart stores will also start directing movement throughout the store, beginning next week, to limit the amount of time shoppers interact with other people.
Similar changes have been initiated at different stores across the country.
As NBC News reports, Home Depot stores have begun providing thermometers to employees so that they can take their own temperature before shifts, and has ended its annual spring sales to prevent shoppers from crowding.
Target announced on Friday that they would begin providing gloves and masks to employees before shifts, sometime in the next two weeks, reports CBS2-Iowa. The chain store will also cap the amount of customers in a given store, but has provided leeway to individual locations to develop policies.
Costco has also announced a bevy of changes, including that locations will only allow two people inside of the store per membership card: “We’ve increased our protocols in sanitizing surfaces, including shopping cart handles, merchandise shelves, front-end belts and registers. Limits have been implemented on certain items to help ensure more members are able to access the merchandise they want and need.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, during a press briefing on Saturday, President Trump announced that the public should prepare itself as the nation enters what could be the “toughest” weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This will be probably the toughest week, between this week and next week, and there will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” said Trump. “But a lot less death than if this wasn’t done, but there will be death.”
“Every decision we’re making is made to save lives. It’s really our sole consideration. We want to save lives. We want as few lives lost as possible,” said the president on Saturday.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said during the briefing that the New York, Detroit, and New Orleans areas will likely experience the peak of their cases in seven days.
“They’re all on the upside of their curve of mortality, so you know when you get to the peak, you come down the other side,” said Dr. Birx. “By the predictions that are in that healthdata.org, they’re predicting those three hotspots, all of them hitting together in the next six to seven days.”