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In Walmart Stores Nationwide, COVID-19 Precautions Remain Priority


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and cases continue to rise, Americans around the country remain focused on safety. Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart is, as well, according to Dacona Smith, EVP and chief operating officer for Walmart U.S.

“Our priority throughout the pandemic has been the safety of our associates and customers, and it’s as strong now as it was when the pandemic began. We’ve taken steps in several areas to help ensure everyone continues to stay safe, no matter how they shop,” Smith said.


Masks, social distancing and associate support

At the more than 5,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations around the country, associates are going in to work to help keep their communities running. They are required to properly wear masks, which are provided at the beginning of their shifts. Walmart also requires customers to wear masks when shopping in its stores,” Smith said. “We’ve also erected sneeze guards in checkout lanes and pharmacy areas, and we’ve separated the vestibules at our entrances to better avoid close contact. We’ve also doubled the number of associates who have been named Health Ambassadors, tasking them with reminding customers about safety standards as they enter the store.”

Smith said store managers around the country have been invaluable in embracing and communicating Walmart’s 6 – 20 – 100 standard, a simple set of numbers paramount to safer operations:

Stay 6 feet apart whenever possible.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

If you have a fever above 100 degrees, please stay home.

The company is taking the temperatures of its associates as they report to work every day, as well as asking them some basic health screening questions. It also is making sure they’re aware of Walmart’s COVID-19 emergency leave policy, which allows them flexibility and support should they need to stay home. And Walmart continues to remind associates that the safety measures they are following at work should also be followed outside the stores.


Cleaning stores and special hours

Early in the pandemic, Walmart made the decision to close stores overnight to enable enhanced sanitization. It’s proven helpful, as it gives associates more time to do enhanced cleaning and restock shelves for our customers, Smith said. The company also has introduced a special sanitizing system to help associates clean shopping carts faster, so customers can shop with confidence.

“We may be closing overnight, but we’re always evaluating how to provide customers greater accessibility to shop for the food, medicine and supplies they need. Recently, we expanded our store hours to 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. unless otherwise mandated by a government agency,” Smith said. “On Tuesdays we’re still hosting special in-store shopping hours for seniors, people with disabilities and those designated as high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”


No-contact pickup and delivery

Customers can see seven days of pickup slots when they place their orders, and Walmart also has reserved the first pickup hour of the day, from 7 to 8 a.m. in select locations, for customers over age 60, first responders, customers with disabilities and anyone else who is high-risk.

Another option is its delivery service or enrolling in the Walmart+ program which provides unlimited deliveries for a monthly or yearly fee.


Pharmacy access

Pharmacy associates are working hard to ensure everyone can get the medicines they need. “More than 1,300 of our stores across the country have pharmacy drive-thru service, and many of our locations offer no-contact curbside pickup or mail delivery,” Smith said. “Call your store to see what’s available in your area.”


Continued focus

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our associates and customers. Whether ordering from Walmart.com, getting delivery, picking up from a local store or shopping inside the store, we remain focused on providing accessibility and affordability to the communities we serve,” Smith said.

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