Stores Deemed Essential Start to Limit Shoppers
As we enter the second week of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order, business are starting to limit how many people are inside their stores.
In a statement Target Corp. provided to CCX News, the company said in order to “promote social distancing with its team and guests, Target will monitor store traffic, and meter, or limit, the number of guests inside stores, when needed.”
Target said occupancy limits will vary by location and be determined by the store’s specific square footage.
“If metering is required, a Target team member will provide a designated waiting area outside with social distancing markers,” the company statement said.
Target officials say the measures announced are aimed at not only creating a safe environment for guests, but provide its employees with additional resources “as they fulfill an essential service in communities across the country.”
“We’re incredibly proud of the commitment our more than 350,000 frontline team members have demonstrated to ensure millions of guests can count on Target, and we’ll continue to focus our efforts on supporting them,” said John Mulligan, executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Walmart Enacts Similar Customer Restrictions
Walmart stores are enacting similar distancing measures as Target, limiting the number of customers who can be in a store at one time.
“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,” said Dacona Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer with Walmart, in a statement to CCX News.
“To manage this restriction, the associates at a store 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. 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 a store reaches its capacity, customers will be admitted inside on a ‘1-out-1-in” basis,'” said Smith.
Hardware and DIY Stores Still Open, But Shopping Experience Changes
Lowe’s announced additional actions being made across all of its U.S. stores to further protect guests and store associates. Among other changes Lowe’s will be closing all stores at 7 p.m. daily and limiting the number of customers in a store. It’s also implementing what it calls “dedicated social distancing ambassadors,” who will be responsible for “monitoring customer flow in our garden centers and front-end areas and enforce customer limits to allow proper social distancing,” a company statement said.
“We are continually working on ways to protect and support our associates and our customers during this time when we are all adjusting how we work and live,” said Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO. “I’m announcing these new operational changes as we continue to keep the health and well-being of our associates and customers top of mind, especially as they look to us now more than ever for essential products, services and support.”
Grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s have also limited the number of patrons allowed in the store by issuing each customer a shopping cart. When their allotted number of shopping carts have been issued to customers entering the store customers must wait for a shopping cart to become available from a patron leaving the store.
Many stores have issued their employees protective gear such as face masks and gloves. Many have also erected plastic shields separating checkout customers from store employees. It is now commonplace to see many shoppers donning various masks and gloves.
Other big box stores such as Best Buy, Home Goods and TJ Maxx Stores, Marshalls, and Dick’s sporting goods have shuttered their doors to customers entirely, some only allowing curbside pick-up from online orders.
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