7 Major Ways Walmart Won't Be the Same After Coronavirus

From how you buy goods to who's allowed in, COVID-19 will change how you shop at Walmart.

Over the course of just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has caused dramatic shifts in the retail industry, with countless businesses implementing new rules for shoppers and many closing their doors indefinitely. However, it's not just mom and pop stores that have been affected—Walmart has also had to make major changes to keep both employees and shoppers safe amid the onslaught of COVID-19. So, what will be different about your shopping experience? Here are all the changes you can expect from Walmart amid the coronavirus pandemic. And for more ways the world will be different, check out these 9 Things You'll Never See in Public After the Coronavirus.

You won't be able to return certain items.

walmart customer service desk with long line
Shutterstock/Eric Glenn

While Walmart is known for its generous return policy, the store won't be taking back many of its product offerings after coronavirus. "If someone stocked up on too much toilet paper, or dry goods like rice, don't
 expect to be able to return those when things begin to change for the 
normal again," says consumer analyst Julie Ramhold with DealNews.

In fact, as of April 20, Walmart announced that it would temporarily halt all returns on health and beauty products, cleaning supplies, paper goods, clothing, and food. And for some things you won't want to be taking home with you, learn which 7 Things You'll Never Want in Your Home After Coronavirus.

Stores won't have two-way aisles.

crowded aisle at walmart

In an effort to promote social distancing and keep at least six feet of space between customers, Walmart has made some changes to its typically crowded aisles. On April 4, the company announced that it would maintain single-direction aisles for the foreseeable future.

You'll have to line up to get inside the store.

long line outside walmart store
Shutterstock/Joni Hanebutt

While many Walmart stores can accommodate a huge number of shoppers at any given time, stores are limiting how many individuals they're allowing in to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, letting just five customers in per 1,000 square feet of space.

Additionally, stores will be lining up patrons in a queue outside to ensure that no business exceeds 20 percent capacity, with employees reminding those lined up of the importance of social distancing in the store while they shop. And for more changes to prepare for, here are 5 Grim Realities of Life After Coronavirus You Need to Come to Terms With.

You won't be able to shop 24 hours anymore.

walmart exterior at night

Those 3 a.m. runs to Walmart for diapers or medicine are a thing of the past—at least for the time being. The big box store announced that, in an effort to provide more time for cleaning and sanitizing, many stores that were once 24 hours are now only open for limited hours, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Both employees and shoppers will be wearing face masks.

walmart employee wearing mask
Shutterstock/Hayden Stirling

Even with social distancing measures in place, Walmart employees will have to go the extra mile to protect themselves at work. As of April 17, the store announced that its workers would have to wear masks or other face coverings during their shift, and that it would be encouraging all shoppers to wear masks, as well.

However, that's not the only major change for Walmart workers—the company has also implemented temperature checks for employees before they enter the workplace. And if you want to make sure you're using your mask correctly, be sure you know these 7 Precautions You Must Take Before Wearing a Mask.

Crowded in-store cafes will be a thing of the past.

closed mcdonald's inside walmart
Shutterstock/Margarita Young

Bribing your teenager to come grocery shopping with you by offering up a meal at McDonald's might just be a tradition lost to time.

On March 16, McDonald's—which has hundreds of outposts in Walmart stores across the United States—announced that it would be closing its dining rooms to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. While patrons can still get food to go in many locations, McDonald's has already temporarily closed 50 of its stores since early March.

You'll have to leave through a different door than the one you entered through.

walmart exterior with shoppers exiting into parking lot
Shutterstock/Michael D Morrow

You won't have to worry about a crowded entryway when you go into your local Walmart anymore—but you may have to rethink where you park. To keep people from inadvertently bumping into one another, Walmart has created separate entry and exit points within its stores. And for more coronavirus-related restrictions, check out these 7 Things That Are Impossible to Do Anytime Soon.

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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