Restaurants and grocery stores are implementing additional measures to safeguard customers and workers amid the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Costco has updated its in-store mask policy, and McDonald's will visit franchise locations to confirm adherence to safety protocols.
Though Walmart had discontinued counting the number of customers entering its stores back in September, the retailer will resume doing so in the lead up to the busy holiday shopping season. Customers will be required to enter their neighborhood store in a single-file line, and "Health Ambassadors" will remind them to wear a face mask as they enter, according to CNN.
"We know from months of metering data in our stores that the vast majority of the time our stores didn't reach our self-imposed 20% metering capacity," Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesperson, told the outlet. "Out of an abundance of caution, we have resumed counting the number of people entering and leaving our stores."
The move comes as Walmart braces for Black Friday shoppers seeking deep discounts in a strained economy. Already, it has stretched out its planned deals from one single day into three events, which kick off in stores at 5 a.m. the morning after Thanksgiving. The move will allow the retailer "to limit the number of people in stores during the holiday shopping season," CNN noted.
"During these in-store Black Friday events, Walmart will meter customers into the store to help reduce congestion and promote social distancing inside stores," the company said in an announcement about the Black Friday events. "Customers will be directed to shop down the right-hand side of aisles to be able to easily–and safely–select the Black Friday items they're interested in purchasing."
If you plan to get your shopping out of the way before Black Friday, here is how Walmart Is Bracing For a Different Holiday Shopping Season This Year.