Late last year, Walmart was shutting down some of its stores in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It's a precaution the chain started when the pandemic was somewhat new and allows cleaning crews to deep clean without customers inside. But, even as vaccination rates rise and other grocery chains end pandemic-era rules, Walmart is still closing some stores to sanitize.
Lincoln, Ill., Mason, Ohio, Williston, N.D., El Paso, Texas, and Franklin, Ky., have all been shut down for over 40 hours within the last few weeks. All closed at 2 p.m. and reopened two days later at 7 a.m. so that a third-party cleaning service could come in, as well as allowing employees time to restock.
"Everything we're doing is for the well-being of our associates and customers, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and health experts," Charles Crowson, a Walmart spokesperson, said about the Mason store closing, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. "When the store reopens Thursday, we will continue conducting associate health screens and temperature checks, and all associates will be provided with facemasks and gloves."
Back in December, some shoppers in Arkansas told a local news station they were shocked when Walmart in Paragould shut down, since some shop there every single day. "They could've warned us a little bit," one said. "This is going to hurt this little town."
No reasons for the shutdowns other than cleaning have been given. It's also unknown if they are tied to any COVID-19 outbreaks. A spokesperson for the chain told Eat This Not That! that "Walmart is making these determinations on a market-by-market basis," but didn't give any more information.
Although this COVID-19 precaution is still in place, Walmart is making some other changes. It's taking away in-store pickup towers, giving vaccinated customers a convenient perk, and bringing back this service that allows grocery delivery workers to bring your items to your home and put them away in your kitchen.
To get all the latest news on Walmart and other grocery stores delivered right to your email inbox every day, sign up for our newsletter!