Walmart to Limit Customers and Create One-Way Traffic in Its Stores

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The national Walmart distribution center will limit the number of customers allowed inside its stores and launch new efforts to keep buyers moving in one direction, the company announced on Friday.

As of Saturday, only five customers per 1,000 square feet can enter a Walmart, which will represent about 20% of the listed capacity in each region, according to a statement from Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith.

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And in many stores next week, markers will be placed to direct buyers to one-way pedestrian traffic “to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others when shopping” , according to Smith.

Huge tracts of America are currently subject to state orders following the coronavirus pandemic. Grocery stores and pharmacies are among the services exempted from state and local closure orders, which also require social distancing.

“While many of our customers have followed the medical community’s advice on social distancing and safety, we are concerned that certain behaviors in our stores pose undue risk to our employees,” Smith wrote.

Elizabeth Peralta, executive director of the National Supermarket Association, says one-way traffic in the aisles is rare, but not entirely unknown.

The group has urged members to introduce one-way customer traffic since early March, although Peralta admits it could be difficult in urban areas where square footage is expensive.

“I don’t think it’s as far-fetched as it sounds, it’s just if you’ve never seen it before,” she told NBC News.

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