Walmart starts counting, limiting customers again amid virus surge

Walmart has resumed counting and monitoring the number of customers who enter and leave its stores. This comes as coronavirus cases in the United States hit daily highs.

In April, the company began restricting the number of people to 20% of its store capacity, or lower if mandated by local officials. But for a brief period of the time, its stores stopped counting the number of customers who entered its stores.

“We know from months of metering data in our stores that the vast majority of the time our stores didn’t reach our self-imposed 20% metering capacity,” said Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesperson. “Out of an abundance of caution, we have resumed counting the number of people entering and leaving our stores.”

Like other retailers, Walmart is spreading Black Friday sales over time to limit the number of people in stores during the holiday shopping season.

Walmart’s Black Friday deals are lasting three weekends, beginning on its website before hitting stores a few days later. “Black Friday Deals for Days” encompassed the first and second weekends of November and will include the fourth weekend too, with the deals appearing online Wednesdays.

With the holiday season fast approaching and the weather getting colder, more shoppers are looking to stock up for the winter season ahead. Nearly 60% of shoppers say they plan to stock up again as winter approaches, according to a survey of 1,000 shoppers by market research firm Inmar Intelligence conducted during the week of Oct. 14.

Other grocery store chains, such as Kroger and Giant, have begun reinstating purchase limits on items, such as toilet paper, paper towels and disinfecting wipes.

Coronavirus cases have surged to record levels in the U.S., with more than 45 states reporting new infections this week than the week prior, according to data from John Hopkins University.

How major retailers are changing Black Friday in 2020:

Virus by the numbers