ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — To further encourage social distancing, Wal-Mart is placing more restrictions on shoppers.

Store associates are marking a queue at one entrance and directing 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 the Ashtabula store reaches its capacity of 1,100, shoppers will be admitted inside on a “1-out-1-in” basis.

It’s the latest in a long line of changes to how Wal-Mart operates under the restrictions of social distancing, stay-at-home orders and quarantines. Late last month, Wal-Mart started closing overnight for cleanings and restocking; installing sneeze guards and social distance signs, checking employees’ temperatures and making gloves and masks available to associates who want them.

“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,” Dacona Smith, executive vice president and chief operating office, said in a prepared statement. “We also want to encourage customers to bring the fewest number of people per family necessary to shop, allowing for space with other customers while shopping and practice social distancing while waiting in lines.”

Wal-Mart also will institute one-way movement through aisles this week, using floor markers and direction from employees, and install plexiglass guards at check-outs and at the pharmacy.

Once a customer checks out, they will be directed to exit through a different door than they entered, which will lessen the instances of people closely passing each other.

“We always want people to feel welcome at Wal-Mart, and we know that in ordinary times a store is a gathering place,” Smith said. “We look forward to the time when that is the case again; however, we now want to prioritize health and safety by encouraging customers to do their shopping at a distance from others, then head home.”



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