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How Shopping at Walmart Has Changed During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Walmart may be known for everyday low prices, but during the coronavirus pandemic, the chain is trying to make sure it’s also known as a safe place for customers to shop, even if they never enter the store.

Many shoppers have already turned to online purchasing during quarantine, so Walmart has integrated its Walmart Grocery app and Walmart app to make online ordering easier. To meet increased demand, the chain has added thousands of new slots for grocery pickup, and the app allows customers to reserve a no-contact pickup or delivery time. Prescriptions can be refilled through drive-thru (if your store has a drive-thru pharmacy), curbside pickup, or mail delivery. Express delivery, if you are close enough to a Walmart store, guarantees your purchase will be on your doorstep in two hours or less. 

For seniors and other shoppers at the highest risk of COVID-19 who want to shop in person, Walmart stores are opening their doors an hour early every Tuesday (6 a.m. to 7 a.m. at most locations). Walmart also has a designated pickup window for online orders, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., for customers over the age of 60, those considered high risk, customers with disabilities, and first responders. Walmart’s grocery pickup service, a limited option several months ago, has been extended to more Walmart stores. Another recent change is touch-free payment at any register using Walmart Pay from the Walmart app.

Walmart is also taking measures to make sure all in-store shoppers are keeping a safe distance from one another. Stores are allowing only five; customers per 1,000 square feet to enter at a time (roughly 20% of capacity). A number of stores have instituted one-way movement throughout, with floor markers and instruction from staffers guiding shoppers where to go. Stores also have signage to remind customers to maintain social distancing. Associates in the store are required to wear a mask.

Walmart is also offering drive-thru coronavirus testing, with 139 testing sites in 22 states as of May 15. The chain has tested more than 38,000 people. 

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