More than 20 Walmart stores across the country have closed temporarily for deep cleaning in the past month following employee cases of or exposures to COVID-19, according to a WGB tally.
The temporary closures have come as the U.S. recorded its worst month since the pandemic began in terms of new COVID-19 cases and deaths. More than 6.3 million new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the U.S. in December; deaths resulting from COVID-19 surged to more than 77,000 for the month.
Walmart's temporary store closures in the past month have affected stores across the country, from West Virginia to California. The closures typically last 41 hours, beginning at 2 p.m. on a designated day and ending at 7 a.m. two days later. When a store closes, a third-party cleaning crew does a deep clean and sanitizing of the building, and then Walmart store crews restock shelves and prep the store for reopening.
In Garland, Texas, the Walmart Neighborhood Market store at 1855 S. Garland Ave. closed the Friday before Christmas for 41 hours for deep cleaning. Local media reported that Garland health officials had confirmed an outbreak of 10 cases among store employees.
Walmart generally does not comment on the circumstances of individual store closures—including whether the closures result from confirmed employee cases or employee exposures—but instead provides a statement that notes that stores will continue to conduct associate health screens and temperature checks upon reopening and that all associates are provided with face masks and gloves.
"Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and customers, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health experts," Walmart's statement reads. Sneeze guards at registers, social-distancing signage, an emergency leave policy for associates unable to work or uncomfortable going to work, a mandatory mask policy for associates, and "health ambassadors" stationed at store entrances to encourage customers to wear a mask are among the additional measures Walmart stores have taken to help protect associates and shoppers, the company notes.
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Among the 22 closures in the past month tallied by WGB, seven occurred in California. NBC News reported Jan. 5 that California has the No. 3 highest rate of COVID-19 infections per capita in not just the U.S. but the world—trailing only Arizona and Rhode Island. Two Costco locations in Los Angeles County have recorded more than 50 total staff cases of COVID-19, according to data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and a Target store in Alhambra has recorded 40.
What follows are the temporary Walmart closures in the past 30 days tallied by WGB based on news reports:
- Anaheim (951 Avenida Pico)
- San Clemente (440 N. Euclid)
- Lodi (1601 S. Lower Sacramento Road)
- National City (1200 Highland Ave.)
- Chula Vista (875 E. H St.)
- San Jacinto (861 S. San Jacinto)
- Pico Rivera (8500 Washington Blvd.)
- Bryan (2200 Briarcrest Dr.)
- Garland (1855 S. Garland Ave.)
- Decatur (2800 Spring Ave.)
- Huntsville (3031 Memorial Parkway SW)
- Scottsboro (24833 John T. Reid Parkway)
- Ammon (1201 S. 25th St.)
- London (1851 Highway 192)
- Bad Axe (901 N. Van Dyke Road)
- Clio (11493 N. Linden Road)
- Grand Blanc Township (6170 S. Saginaw St.)
- Kansas City (8551 Boardwalk Ave.)
- Lincoln (4700 N. 27th St.)
- Las Vegas (2310 E. Serene Ave.)
- Clarksburg (550 Emily Dr.)
- Parkersburg (2900 Pike St.)