Later this week, Walmart will begin mandating one-way aisles in an effort to encourage social distancing in its stores. The new measure goes into effect on Thursday and is just the latest effort the company has made to keep both its employees and customers safe within its stores, which have been allowed to remain open amid stay at home orders due to it being an essential business.
"Beginning April 23rd (Thursday) our facility will be going to One-way Aisles. One-way aisles are designed to increase social distancing and give customers more space on each aisle," the company announced. "There will be floor decals in place to help indicate the direct traffic flow. You will find green 'Shop This Way' decals indicating the entrances of each aisle. You will find red 'Do Not Shop This Way' decals to tell opposing traffic not to enter the aisle. Thank you for understanding."
The announcement has been met with mixed reactions from shoppers, some of whom are applauding the company for encouraging social distancing measures at their stores while others criticize the move and cast doubt that it will even work. Keep scrolling to see how customers are reacting to the latest precautionary measure the retailer is taking.
The measure has gained widespread praise from many, who have expressed their desire for other stores to take up similar protocols. Although some states are in the process of a phased approach to the reopening of their economies, social distancing guidelines will remain in place in an effort to keep the number of new cases down.
"Wal Mart is doing more than a great many other stores to help protect all of us from the virus. Hats off to you," applauded one person. "Wish Lowe's would do this. Their employees don't seem to care about our safety."
"If you don't like it and stay at home Wal-Mart is trying to keep people safe and there workers or don't you care if people die Wal-Mart does I know I work there I do care so if you don't like it stay at home or go somewhere else and shop," added a second.
Many supporters have expressed how difficult it has been for them to maintain social distancing while shopping in recent weeks. Those people praised Walmart in the comments section.
"I have to agree with Wal-Mart on this," wrote one. "At least they are try every way to keep us safe while shopping. THANK YOU, Wal-Mart."
"Not a bad idea," added another person. "We are asked to stay six feet apart. But it's hard to do when everyone is trying to get what they need on the same isle. Especially if a worker is trying to stock the shields there."
"It should always been that way I hope it works if it does keep it like that even when this over," commented a third.
Some are praising the new measure as it helps protect those who are in the most at-risk groups, including the immunocompromised, elderly, and others. In past weeks, people in those groups have spoken out about the difficulties they have experienced trying to safely shop due to crowded stores that have not allowed for social distancing.
“Thank you. I've been avoiding shopping because it's hard to keep safe. I'm high risk. Everyone may not appreciate it but I do,” wrote one person, prompting a series of similar responses from others in the at-risk groups.
“I'm also compromised and only go out to get groceries and prescriptions, take all precautions, and still worry,” commented another. “And I tested negative at the drs. office when sick last week. Doesn't mean I'm negative today though!”
While many support the idea, some have expressed doubt that shoppers will adhere to the new protocol and that Walmart will be able to enforce it. Others have expressed how the one-way shopping aisles, while a good idea in theory, can actually lead to further damage.
"They are already doing this at Publix. I have found that it increases shopping time, causes congestion in areas of high interest, and forces people close together in groups as some of us want to pass or move around slower people and get blocked," commented one shopper. "I understand the idea behind it, but I don't think it works very well."
"I hope people will adhere to this but I've seen people disregard the parking lot one ways so you know," wrote somebody else. "Also this might be infringing on their freedom to go whatever direction they want to in a store so people might also be protesting and picketing Walmart soon."
Of course, there are just as many people against one-way aisles as there are for it. Intermingled with the comments of support and those doubting the measure’s effectiveness are ones from shoppers who voicing their displeasure with the company. Some have already even begun to state that they will be taking their business elsewhere.
"I see them lining us up like robots controlling everything about us next," reacted one person. "This will add in the amount of time a person is in the store now. Instead of in and out quickly it will become don't move, stay there until I tell you. [laughing out loud]. Crazy to watch our people be so controlled now by so many."
"I think this is a great opportunity to decide to shop somewhere else," commented somebody else. "When they start telling you which direction you have to walk in their store then it's time to just find another place to shop."
Others have begun to wonder if the retailer has taken things to far. To date, Walmart has enacted a number of new protocols at its stores, including limiting the number of people allowed in at one time, stopping the sale of nonessential items in some states, and reserving the 7 a.m. – 8.m. daily grocery pickup timeslot for at-risk groups. Many are questioning what the company will do next.
"How bout putting turn signals and horns on the baskets and maybe some signal lights and guess you can hire a cop with a special basket with lights and siren just in case you catch somebody going the wrong way or to fast or god forbid hoarding!" suggested one person.
"Walmart you’ve lost your mind," declared another. "You obviously think people are completely stupid. People know how to keep apart from each other. What are you gonna do next, put up red lights and stop signs. Make everyone wear blinkers on themselves so they can give turn signals. I think I'll just shop somewhere else since you have nothing I can’t buy at other stores thank you!"
Of course, the one-way aisles have also prompted backlash in the form of confusion. Many customers are wondering just how strict the new measures will be, questioning if they will have to walk all the way around the store again if they forgot to grab an item at the other end of the aisle they are already in.
"So, what if you realize you forgot something and need to go back?" asked one customer. "Do you have to go all the to the front and start over?? Man, I'm kinda glad my leg and ankle is broken and I can't walk on it, that way I don't have to participate on this nonsense [laughing out loud]!!"
"But what if I walk past the pasta and then I realize that I forgot to grab a box of pasta and it's three feet behind me, do I have to go all the way around the circle again or can I just backup 3ft?" questioned somebody else.