Walmart Implements Further Changes to Aid in Fight Against Pandemic

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The Walmart Corporate office announced further changers to aid in the fight against COVID-19, and its spread.

Sanitation

Our associates are working hard to keep stores stocked and sanitized for you. We’re dedicating associates in every store to clean high-traffic, high-touch areas, like checkouts and shopping carts, every day. We’re also installing sneeze guards in our pharmacy and register lanes, and floor decals at both the entrances and checkouts, to help you maintain proper social distancing.

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Store Hours

Effective Mar. 15, our stores and Neighborhood Markets are open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to further give our associates the time they need to stock products and clean thoroughly. And, of course, in areas with curfews, we want to make sure everyone is able to do their work and be home on time. 

Additionally, from March 24 to April 28, our stores will host a senior shopping hour every Tuesday for customers age 60 and older who may be more vulnerable. This will start one hour before the store opens. Our pharmacies and vision centers will also be open during this time.

Looking for the most up-to-date store hours? Check the store finder on our site or app for your local store’s hours, including pharmacy and vision centers.

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Pharmacy Update

Pharmacy associates are working to make sure everyone has the medicine they need. Most Walmart pharmacies are open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. We also have a dedicated shopping hour on Tuesday mornings from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. for seniors ages 60 and older.

For seniors and those at high-risk for COVID-19, we have a variety of ways to serve you, including drive-thru, no-contact curbsite pickup and mail delivery. Call your pharmacy to see which options are available. 

If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, seek medical attention. If you have these symptoms, or if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you won’t need to visit a store; simply contact your pharmacy, and we’ll help find a way to help you get your medications.

We’re working on your behalf with insurance companies to identify additional options that may be available for you at this time (like filling more than a month of a prescription at once). 

If you are in our SMS (text message) alert program, you’ll get updates on ways we’re making it easier to get your medicine, like curbside pickup or mail-to-home, as well as keeping you updated on any changes to pharmacy hours. 

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Vision Center Update

Lost or broke your glasses? Run out of contacts? We’re here to serve emergency or essential needs, as well as existing order pickups, with modified hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in most locations — check the store finderbefore you head out. Please note that we won’t be able to accept new orders for non-emergency or non-essential needs until further notice, in order to keep you and our associates safe. 

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Other Services

Our people are working hard to have every part of the store ready to serve customers. To help support our people and focus on the most critical areas of the store right now, we will temporarily shut down our Auto Care Centers to allow those associates to focus on stocking and cleaning in the rest of the store. Similarly, some stores may choose to suspend jewelry counter services, including ear piercing and jewelry repair.

Last week the store implemented “contact free surface” changes that included:

  • No contact payment: Checking out at Walmart will be completely contact free on any register when you use Walmart Pay on the Walmart app in the coming week. Previously, customers had to select a payment method by touching a screen on our self-checkouts. Now, all customers who have a smartphone can simply scan a QR code and Walmart Pay is synced, allowing customers to pay completely free of contact.
  • No contact pickup and delivery: Our pickup and delivery services play a really important role for our customers, especially right now. We’ve seen an overwhelming response to these services in the last number of weeks and are now adding even more safety measures. For pickup customers, they simply open their trunk, and associates load their groceries in – no need to sign for the order. And for delivery, we’ll bypass the signature here too, asking delivery drivers to simply leave the order on customers’ doorsteps.

Walmart and Sams Club store employees have worked tirelessly to keep up with demand. As they have begun to adjust to “a new normal,” employees continue to face challenges. “I feel like once we put something on the shelf, we turn around, and it’s already gone,” eCommerce department manager Maria Sotelo said.

But as store manager Rissa Pittman pointed out, even though a few products like paper towels and toilet paper remain scarce, they’re being replenished each day. “We might not have it right away in stock, but the next day, we have a truck that will,” Pittman assured.

Whereas the quantities of the items are not quite enough to make shelves look as full as they did a week ago, customers and associates alike take comfort in knowing product is still flowing to stores.

“It’s a calming influence that toilet paper is coming in every day,” Walmart assistant manager Hamish Cameron added.

Time to Regroup

In response to the extreme demands on the stores, Walmart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets are closing overnight. Apart from the needed time to restock, this change in operating hours has helped store associates take the time to clean and sanitize as well.

Pittman said they’ve created special “clean teams” who focus on cleaning and sanitizing the store at night. Fresh CAP Supervisor Tasha Martinez said fresh areas like meat and produce are getting special attention.

“We are really good about cleaning and sanitizing, but now, we’re cleaning racks and coolers as soon as products come off the shelves,” she said.

Cameron said they saw an immediate difference by closing at night. “It’s a really great opportunity to get clean, to get in stock, to regroup,” he said.

At the Sam’s Club, the team pointed out they’re sanitizing all the shopping carts as they’re gathered from the parking lots. Mertig mentioned a heightened focus on cleaning and sanitizing in the clubs as well.

Merchandising lead Adolfo Ramirez echoed his manager’s thoughts. “We used to be really strict on cleaning the restrooms, but now, it’s times 10,” he said.

And in both Sam’s Clubs and Walmart stores, more hand sanitizer dispensers and wipes have been made available to customers and associates to use while in the store.

Retail Therapy

Although the past few days have been a challenge to customers and associates alike, there is a rising sense of community and shared experience.

“A lot of us have seen that we are all in this together – from suppliers to truck drivers – everybody that’s working hard to get us stocked has really helped the morale of the store,” Pittman said. “This has given us a chance to prove to customers that we are here for them, and our associates are proud to serve.”

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; Editor - Resident Press. 20+ years experience in the news.

One Reply to “Walmart Implements Further Changes to Aid in Fight Against Pandemic”

  1. Like!! Thank you for publishing this awesome article.

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