Walmart photo

WARREN DILLAWAY | Star Beacon

Customers leave the Ashtabula Township Walmart on Friday morning. The store now has a customer limit of 50 people in place so a waiting area has been created if it is necessary.

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Wal-Mart shoppers arrived to the store Friday to a line of shopping carts, all positioned so anyone entering or leaving the store would do so in single file.

This is the latest effort Wal-Mart, as well as other grocers, have taken to remain open, while abiding by the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for social distancing. The new policy also includes hand sanitizer stations set up at the entrance, as well as various locations throughout the store.

Wal-Mart has also enacted a policy limiting the number of shoppers who can enter the store at once. The Ashtabula store also offers “seniors only” shopping hours from 7-8 a.m. through April 28.

Operating hours have been reduced to 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. dailty to give employees enough time to restock shelves, clean and sanitize the store.

Wal-Mart is allowing its workers to wear face masks and gloves if they like. In addition, Wal-Mart has started checking workers’ temperatures when they report for their shifts. Any employee with a temperature of 100 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and asked to go home and seek medical treatment. The employee will not be able to return to work until fever is gone for at least three days.

“We know not only our associates, but our customers as well will be more comforted by the fact that they have access to a medical mask,” said Dan Bartlett, executive vice president.

Gloves and masks will be sent to Walmart warehouses and stores within the next one to two weeks. Some stores have also installed plexiglass shields around cash registers, and routinely make announcements reminding shoppers to stay six feet away from one another.

“While the CDC and other health officials do not recommend masks or gloves for healthy people who don’t ordinarily use them for their jobs, we will make them available — as supplies permit — for associates who want to wear them,” Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club executives John Furner and Kathy McLay said in a joint prepared statement. “We encourage anyone who would like to wear a mask or gloves at work to ask their supervisor for them, while keeping in mind that it is still possible to spread germs while wearing them.”

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