These Are the Walmart Stores That Have Closed Because of COVID So Far
The mega-retailer is taking time to deep clean dozens of locations across the U.S.
Whether you're talking about big box stores or mom-and-pop boutiques, the COVID-19 pandemic has majorly disrupted the retail business since it first hit the U.S. in early 2020. Of course, this includes Walmart, which is the nation's largest retailer with over 4,700 locations across 50 states. After nearly two years of increased hygiene practices, on-site safety precautions, and changes to operating hours, the store is now facing a new set of challenges as Omicron drives case counts back up nationwide. Now, Walmart has briefly closed dozens of stores as COVID continues to affect its operations. Read on to see which locations have temporarily shuttered due to the most recent spike in infections.
Walmart has temporarily closed nearly 60 stores due to the most recent national COVID surge.
As COVID cases continue to rise nationwide, Walmart has temporarily closed almost 60 stores to allow for time to sanitize the locations and "to present a safe and clean in-store environment for our associates and customers," a company spokesperson told Reuters.
So far, the closures have affected locations across at least a dozen states. In Colorado, a store in Montrose was briefly closed; three Florida Walmart stores temporarily closed in Auburndale, Kissimmee, and Northwest Miami-Dade; in Kentucky, a store in Ashland was briefly shuttered; Louisiana saw greater New Orleans stores in Chalmette and Harahan and a location in Kenner temporarily close; one store in Laurel, Maryland was temporarily closed for deep cleaning; and in Michigan, the Kalamazoo County Walmart was briefly shuttered.
In Mississippi, a Walmart location Hernando was temporarily closed; New Jersey saw a recent temporary closure in Williamstown, as well as previous closures in Kearny, Linden, and Manville; Ohio Walmart stores in Ashtabula, Bainbridge, and Jackson reported brief closures; in Pennsylvania, a Walmart in South Philadelphia temporarily shuttered; Texas Walmart locations in Uptown Dallas and La Marque were both shuttered; a Walmart in Pounding Mill, Virginia temporarily closed; and two Walmart stores in Milwaukee, Wisconsin were briefly shut down.
The company says it's basing its decision to close location on "market-related data."
The most recent closures come as part of a policy adopted by the retailer two years ago to "get ahead"of potential outbreaks by closing stores for less than 48 hours, Reuters reports. "We've been closely monitoring our stores across the country, making the decision to temporarily close locations on a store-by-store basis through a collection of market-related data," a Walmart spokesperson told the news agency in a statement. However, the company declined to comment on potential outbreaks of the virus among staff at the closed locations.
In multiple statements released by Walmart in response to specific closures, a spokesperson for the company says: "Everything we're doing is for the well-being of our associates and the thousands of customers we serve daily, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health experts." A third-party company will be in charge of the cleanings, and a few select staff members will be working on restocking empty shelves and taking inventory during the closures, Patch reports.
Walmart is still taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID at their stores.
While Walmart no longer has a mask mandate in place at all of its stores, the company said it is following CDC guidance at this time, "which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission," per a press release shared with Louisiana NBC-affiliate WDSU 6 on Dec. 29.
The CDC updates its data on transmission rates weekly. Most of the U.S. is currently showing high rates of transmission per the agency's guidelines, according to its website. As of the latest update on Jan. 2, 96.43 percent of the counties nationwide are exhibiting high community transmission, 1.68 percent have substantial transmission, and only 0.84 percent and 0.96 percent are seeing moderate or low transmission, respectively.
"We will continue working closely with elected and local health officials, adjusting how we serve the community while also keeping the health and safety of our customers and associates in mind," Walmart said in a statement.
Walmart isn't the only retailer that's been affected by the most recent surge.
Of course, Walmart isn't the only major chain forced to grapple with the latest set of COVID challenges. Apple recently reduced the hours of operations at its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City while also temporarily closing other locations in California, Georgia, and Tennessee, Reuters reports.
Other recent brief closures for the tech giant include stores in Florida, Texas, Ohio, and New Hampshire, The Verge reports. While the company did not respond to questions on the reason for the closures, such shutdowns are usually initiated when 10 percent of a store's staff tests positive for COVID-19, according to a Bloomberg report.