If You See This at Walmart, Don't Go Inside

Even if you're vaccinated, these red flags could be putting you at risk, experts say.

As more and more vaccines are distributed throughout the U.S., people are once again resuming their regular activities, from going into the office for work to visiting stores for in-person shopping. However, just because there's some semblance of normalcy on the horizon doesn't mean every activity is suddenly a safe one. Before you head back to your local Walmart to shop, read on to discover the signs you shouldn't go inside, according to medical professionals. And if you want to protect your health, The CDC Says to "Avoid" Going Here, Even If You're Vaccinated.

Nobody is checking the number of customers inside.

line outside walmart store
Shutterstock / Nicole Glass Photography

While most Walmarts are sprawling, if they're packed with customers, you could be putting your health and safety at risk by entering.

"In these tough times, it is always advisable to avoid big stores," says Rahil Chaudhary, MD, managing director at Eye7 Hospitals. However, if you must visit your local Walmart, "The biggest warning that comes from these shops is when they do not keep a check on the number of customers. They should, ideally, also prevent over-crowding at the cash counters and provide gloves if necessary." And for the latest health and safety news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The ventilation system doesn't seem to be working.

store air conditioning system
Shutterstock / Krit Kongcharoenpanich

If the store you're shopping in is sweltering, you might want to steer clear. "If you notice the ventilation system to be faulty or blocked, it will put you at more risk of being contracted by the virus as there's no space for the air to pass," explains Chaudhary.

There are no signs encouraging social distancing.

A placeholder label on the ground to reminder shoppers to practice social distancing

Though you might assume that most people know to allow for distance between themselves and other shoppers at this point, if it's not being enforced by the store, you might want to duck out.

Chaudhary notes that social distancing is still essential to limiting the spread of the virus, especially indoors.

Mask mandates are not being enforced.

mask sign hanging in walmart store entry
Shutterstock / Margarita Young

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommend wearing a mask indoors, even if you're vaccinated—and that means your fellow shoppers should be wearing them at your local Walmart, too.

"If someone walks in without a mask then don't offer one and/or let the person walk in and shop," you're safer leaving, says Briggette Glymph, RN, BSN, MNC, founder of Twins Made Easy. And for more places you're better off avoiding, The CDC Says These Are the "Least Safe" Places You're Going Right Now.

Hours for elderly and immunocompromised people aren't being enforced.

woman shopping at walmart amid covid pandemic
ungvar / Shutterstock

While breakthrough infections after vaccination remain relatively rare, they're not unheard of—and that's why it's so important for stores to maintain hours that allow vulnerable individuals to shop without encountering larger crowds.

"We know that the elderly, pregnant women, and anyone with a comprised immune system and/or medical issues, like heart issues [and] lung issues, are at a higher risk. If the store offers certain hours for those individuals and you show up and they let you and others in that don't need to be there, then you're putting them at a higher risk," says Glymph. And for more red flags you can't afford to ignore, The CDC Says If You See This at a Restaurant, Don't Go Inside.


Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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