Wal-Mart limiting number of customers inside stores amid COVID-19 outbreak

A major chain store with locations in and around The Villages has made a sweeping change that will impact customers amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

Beginning Saturday, Wal-Mart started limiting the number of customers that could be inside a store at any given time. Stores are allowing no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet of space in the facility, which amounts to about 20 percent of a store’s capacity.

To manage the restriction, Wal-Mart will limit entry to a single door, which in most cases will be the grocery entrance. Arriving customers will be admitted one by one and counted. Employees 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 a store reaches its capacity, customers will be admitted inside on a “1-out-1-in” basis.

Wal-Mart also will institute one-way movement through the aisles in a number of our stores, using floor markers and direction from employees to help customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop. Signs inside the stores also will remind customers of the need to maintain social distancing – especially while they are in lines to checkout. Once customers have made their purchases, they will be directed to leave through a different door, which should lessen the instances of people closely passing each other.

Wal-Mart recently joined with Publix and Winn-Dixie in installing Plexiglass-style sneeze guards at its stores in an effort to protect both customers and employees. Stores also installed floor decals near checkout stations to remind customers to stay at least six feet apart while waiting to pay for their items and have been focusing on constant cleaning efforts, including the use of two-gallon sprayer kits to sanitize carts quicker and more thoroughly.

Wal-Mart Supercenters are located in and around Florida’s Friendliest Hometown at 4085 Wedgewood Lane, 17961 U.S. Hwy. 27/441 in Summerfield and 2501 Citrus Blvd. in Leesburg. A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market also is located in The Villages at the Sarasota Plaza off County Road 466 near the Colony Cottage Shopping Center.

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