Pittsboro, NC – An ordinary trip to the Siler City or Northeast Chatham Walmart will now include crowd control and restrictions on the movements of shoppers.
Walmart sent out a press release on Friday outlining changes they were instituting in their stores starting this past Saturday.
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.
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
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.
It appears that this one-way movement pattern is not instituted in the NE Chatham Walmart. On an April 6 visit, we noticed upon entry and as we made our way through the store that there were no required customer traffic patterns in place.
Update from William Mauney from Silk Hope on the Siler City Walmart (4.6.20 9 pm EDT): “Went to the Siler city Walmart this evening. Same setup as what your video shows. Went in for some butter but walked around a bit first. Asked the lady otw out what’s the limit they can take in and I believe she said 770 people but they hadn’t reached that number since the new limits were put in place. To tell the truth the parking lot looked about how it usually does (about 1/3 full or so).”
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.
Both Chatham County Walmarts feature a weekly senior shopping event: Each Tuesday, those age 60 and older can shop the store and Pharmacy one hour before opening. Mar 24–Apr 28.