Walmart temporarily closes Orange store for COVID-19 sanitizing – Daily News

on Jan19
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Walmart temporarily closed its Orange store for COVID-19 sanitizing Monday, marking the company’s ninth such closure in recent days.

The store, at at 2300 N. Tustin St., closed at 2 p.m. and is scheduled to reopen at at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20. The downtime will give workers time to restock shelves and allow third-party cleaning crews to thoroughly clean and sanitize the building to guard against the spread of coronavirus.

Stores like Walmart are typically closed when employees test positive or are exposed to COVID-19, although the company declined to provide details, citing privacy concerns.

Monday’s shutdown follows last week’s temporary closure of a Walmart supercenter in Long Beach. That closure arrived on the heels of the temporary shutdown of the company’s Downey Neighborhood Market, two supercenters in Torrance and Huntington Beach, a Sam’s Club in South Gate and additional store closures in Paramount, Anaheim and San Clemente.

The temporary closures augment the mega retailer’s other safeguards, including sneeze guards at registers, temperature checks and mandatory mask-wearing for associates. It has also placed social distancing signs throughout its stores and has enacted an emergency leave policy for workers who are unable or uncomfortable coming to work.

Burt Flickinger III, managing director for the retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group, said it’s a smart move on Walmart’s part, although the company should have begun the temporary shutdowns sooner.

“An average Walmart supercenter could see a customer count of 15,000 to 20,000 people a day,” he said. “They really should have started doing this in March through June.”

In a statement released Monday, Walmart said the company’s COVID-19 safeguards are for the well-being of both employees and customers and are in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and health experts.

“We will continue requiring customers to wear protective facial coverings while inside the building,” the company said.

Figures from the California Department of Public Health show 30,699 new cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, bringing the statewide total to 2,973,174. A total of 33,593 Californians have died of the virus.

Flickinger said increased online sales have likely offset much of Walmart’s in-store sales declines during the shutdowns.

“At this time last year Walmart’s online sales accounted for about 12% of their weekly and monthly sales,” he said. “But now it’s as much as 40%, counting delivery and curbside pickup.”

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