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Walmart limiting number of customers in its stores

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Because of the coronavirus, Walmart on Saturday began limiting the number of customers who can be in its stores at once.

The retailer, which has stores in Clayton, Smithfield and the Cleveland community, is allowing no more more than five shoppers for each 1,000 square feet of store space, the company said Friday in a post on its corporate website. That’s roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity, said Dacona Smith, Walmart’s chief operating officer.

“Wile 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 wrote in the post.

To manage the number of customers in each store, employees will start a waiting line at a single entry, most likely the grocery entrance, the company said. Employees will direct shoppers to the line when they arrive at the store and admit shoppers one by one. 

“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,” Smith said.

Walmart is also instituting one-way movement through aisles in some of its stores, using floor markers and direction from employees.

“We expect this to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop,” Smith said.

“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 added. “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.”