Walmart has instituted a new policy to limit the number of people allowed into the store at any given time. Other customers are asked to line up outside the doors and wait their turn to come in. The measure has gotten mixed reactions, both in person and on social media.
Walmart stores around the country have lines out the door this weekend, with people standing six feet apart. On Friday, the giant retail chain announced its plans to limit the customers allowed into all of its stores. Each location can have up to 20 percent of its maximum capacity inside at any given time. All others must wait outside.
"While many of our customers have been following the advice of the medical community regarding social distancing and safety, we have been concerned to still see some behaviors in our stores that put undue risk on our people," the company stated in a release.
"We want to encourage customers to bring the fewest number of people per family necessary to shop, allow for space with other customers while shopping, and practice social distancing while waiting in lines," it went on. "We're also seeing states and municipalities set varying policies regarding crowd control – which has created some confusion regarding shopping. To promote health, safety and consistency for our associates and customers in this environment, we’re taking some further steps for our U.S. stores."
The idea of this new policy is to restrict the amount of foot traffic inside the store at any given time. This will allow customers and employees to keep the recommended six feet of space between them, hopefully limiting the spread of COVID-19 — the coronavirus.
The measure was put in place to protect customers as well as employees, yet people from both groups are unhappy with it. Many have complained about the inconvenience, while others say that is the wrong step to be taking at this time. Some even feel that the continued changes around Walmart's policies will only draw more people out to the stores, not coax them to stay home.
Here is what social media is saying about Walmart's new policy of outdoor lines.
Whatever the intention or the impact of the new policy, some customers could not help hating the way it looks. Many posted photos this weekend showing staggered lines outside of Walmart stores, saying that the effect was bleak.
LOOK AT THE MESS YOU'VE CAUSED THANKS TO YOUR NEW RULES!!
Open self-checkout registers. Escort the guests through the store w/ time limit. Stop panic buying w/ a limit of 1 of most essential items.
THINK!!— SLPhotos@AwesomeCon2020 (@Two_Cams25) April 4, 2020
Others posted their own ideas for alternative ways Walmart could slow the spread of coronavirus while still serving customers efficiently. These ranged from self-checkout to limiting purchases of essential goods.
Moving the Crowd
Whats the point in @Walmart doing all this if it just creates more ppl hanging out at the doors? Look for a surge in Clark County in 1-2 weeks @GovAndyBeshear #RonaPartyAtWalmart pic.twitter.com/RgBxDJZIys— Essential Ragu (@TachyonIsBackOn) April 4, 2020
Whatever the case, many customers argued that Walmart was only moving the crowd from the inside to the outside, and they did not think it would have a meaningful impact. However, according to a report by The Atlantic, experts still say it is generally safer to spend time outside than inside, as long as it is not in a crowded place.
Walmart counting the amount of people and controlling the way in which we can walk down the isle. WALMART. The place that barely has 3 cashiers. pic.twitter.com/ezz3y6BG0F— Nicks (@anickie) April 4, 2020
Some customers understood the measures put in place at Walmart this weekend, but they still grumbled about how "controlling" the practices seemed. Many posted videos of slow moving lines and aisles of tape guiding their every move.
Walmart. My girls getting a lesson in Socialism. pic.twitter.com/X8ej7t2gNo— Alisa Blessed American 🇺🇸 (@AlisaAl47676195) April 4, 2020
Some users equated the lines at Walmart with "socialism," perhaps referring to the scarcity in some nominally socialist countries in history.
Like Walmart and Target, Home Depot is also limiting the number of customers allowed inside at once. We’ll find out soon whether these restrictions are enough. #panamacity #florida #socialdistancing pic.twitter.com/GYQYHllLtZ— Valerie Crowder (@valcrowder) April 4, 2020
Users expressed doubts about this new system of outdoor lines at Walmart and other chains, though often with varying tones. Some worried whether the policies would be enough, while others doubted that they were really necessary at all.
Acts of Kindness0comments
Finally, many people posted about random acts of kindness they witnessed in the fearful crowds out in public this weekend, from police handing out snacks to strangers letting the elderly cut in line.
For the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the CDC's website.