Walmart limiting number of shoppers to help with social distancing

Retail giant limiting shoppers to 20% of normal capacity in order to ensure proper social distancing.

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Exterior shot of a Walmart Supercenter
A Walmart Supercenter
(Steve Heap/Getty)
Last Updated:
April 4, 2020 - 3:06pm

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The retail giant Walmart is imposing significant restrictions on the number of shoppers allowed in its stores at one time, a decision the company says is meant to help with "social distancing" mandates during the coronavirus outbreak. 

On its website, the company said that starting Saturday it would begin to "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."

The corporation said Friday it was driven to impose this policy after learning of "behaviors in our stores that put undue risk on our people," presumably a reference to shoppers standing too close to one another and to store associates. 

Social distancing rules, which have become ubiquitous throughout the United States and most of the world over the past several weeks, generally mandate a distance of at least six feet between individuals, as well as foregoing handshakes, hugs, kisses and other proximate forms of greeting or affection. 

The company said that in order to properly regulate how many customers are in a store at any one time, it 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." Once a store reaches the designated capacity, additional customers will be prevented from entering until others exit. 

Some stores next week will also begin enforcing one-way directions down aisles in order to "help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop," the company said.