Walmart to resume counting customers as coronavirus cases hit record highs

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In April, the company began limiting the number of people to 20% of its storage capacity, or less if mandated by local authorities. But for a short time, its stores stopped counting the number of customers entering them.

“We know from months of count data in our stores that the vast majority of the time our stores were not meeting our self-imposed 20% count capacity,” said Kory Lundberg, a Walmart (WMT) spokesperson. “To be on the safe side, we have started counting the number of people entering and leaving our stores again. ”

Like other retailers, Walmart is spreading Black Friday sales over time to limit the number of people in stores during the holiday shopping season.

Walmart’s Black Friday deals will run for three weekends, which will begin on its website before arriving in stores a few days later. “Black Friday Deals for Days” encompassed the first and second weekends of November and will also include the fourth weekend, with the deals appearing online on Wednesdays.

While this prompts people to shop online and use its curbside pickup option, shoppers who walk to its stores won’t experience the pandemonium of the past. Instead, they will form single-line lines at the entrance and receive disinfected shopping carts. “Health ambassadors” will be posted at the entrances to remind people to put on their masks. Social distancing will be enforced indoors with capacity checks and one-way lanes.Walmart said the changes to its stores “will be safer and more manageable for our customers and associates.”

As the holiday season quickly approaches and the weather gets colder, more and more shoppers are looking to stock up for the upcoming winter season. Nearly 60% of buyers say they plan to restock as winter approaches, according to a survey of 1,000 buyers by market research firm Inmar Intelligence conducted during the week of October 14 .

Other grocery chains, such as Kroger (KR) and Giant, began to reinstate purchase limits on items such as toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectant wipes. The measures come as grocery stores seek to prevent shoppers from hoarding and “panicking” – as before when the pandemic first struck in the spring.

Coronavirus cases have reached record highs in the United States, with more than 45 states reporting new infections this week compared to the previous week, according to data from John Hopkins University. So far, there have been at least 10,962,835 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 245,933 deaths.

Many states have also started to put in place more stringent measures to stop the spread of the virus, including reducing indoor dining and banning non-essential business services.

– CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn contributed to this report.

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