Virus overwhelms WalMart: largest chain in America joins supermarket chains that shorten shopping hours
Walmart was the latest in a string of major grocery stores that had to cut their hours on Saturday during the coronavirus pandemic, as panic stores continue and there are nearly 3,000 cases in the United States.
The largest retail chain in America revealed it would cut hours from Sunday to continue cleaning and restocking supplies, as workers from several major supermarket chains expressed anger at the lack of social distance in the over-crowded stores.
Desperate scenes take place across the country as buyers prepare for quarantine, either through a period of self-isolation or possible containment measures from authorities.
Employees have emphasized how packed in a store goes against advice about social distance and their health is threatened by the crowd of customers as a risk.
A large number of large supermarket chains will close early or cut back on 24-hour service to replenish and clean stores as the coronavirus pandemic drives panic buying.
Chains like Publix, Giant, Harris Teeter and Wegmans are all scaling back hours, while retail titan Walmart decided on Saturday to close 24-hour stores during the crisis.
The decision to go back to shopping hours came as follows:
- President Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus after coming into contact with at least three people who have since tested positive
- Cases in the United States nearly 3,000 with 57 deaths
- The president announced at a press conference on Saturday that plans are being made to limit domestic travel to “certain areas.”
- He also extended European travel restrictions to the United Kingdom and Ireland
- Dr. Fauci reveals that the United States has not yet reached the peak of its outbreak
- Eighteen states are closing schools to reduce the spread of the coronavirus
- South Beach in Miami is closed and Spring Breakers is told the party is over
On Saturday, Walmart revealed that it will shorten the opening hours of its 24 stores at night and bring them back to 6am to 11pm. Stores that don’t operate on a 24-hour schedule are likely to keep their current opening hours.
“This helps ensure that employees can stock and clean and sanitize the products our customers are looking for,” said Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S.,.
“As we make this change, employees will continue to work the hours and services they have planned, and our supply chain and truck fleet will move and deliver products to stores on their regular schedule.”
Fighting broke out in various stores across the country as tensions between anxious customers flared up.
In Fairfield, California, police were called when fighting broke out over shopping carts at a Costco, KNTV reporter said Jodi Hernandez.
A fight also broke out in the same store when a man pulled a pack of toilet paper from someone else’s car, an employee told Hernandez.
People wait while an employee refills a shelf of disinfectant wipes while people shop at a Walmart Supercentre amid fears of coronavirus spreading in Toronto on Friday
People wait in long lines for Friday caused by the coronavirus at Walmart in Suffern, New York
Coronavirus-fearing masked shoppers panic in Miami Beach, Florida, emptying shelves of toilet paper. Every roll of toilet paper was gone at South Beach’s Publix Superstore, and there was a shrinking supply of eggs, meat, and pasta
Customers line up to check out at a Costco store on Saturday in Novato, California. Some Americans stock food, toilet paper, water, and other items after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic
A customer carries a pack of toilet paper at a Costco store in Novato, California on Saturday
Shoppers line up to enter a Costco warehouse store in Alexandria, Virginia on Saturday. The store was sold out with numerous items, including toilet paper, paper towels, and sanitizing wipes
Experts say supply chains are robust and there is little to no chance of a food shortage in the United States.
But supermarkets struggled to keep up with demand, hiring more workers, and doubling supplies as items flew off the shelves into the rage of viruses.
In response, supermarket chain Publix, with more than 1,200 stores in the southern states, will close at 8:00 pm every day.
The Florida-based chain said it wants to give employees time to stock products and clean shelves.
“Publix will continue to focus on keeping our employees healthy – and our stores open and filled – to serve and support all of our communities,” said Todd Jones, CEO of Publix, in a statement on the chain’s website.
The Giant Company, with nearly 200 stores in the mid-Atlantic, announced on Saturday that the 24-hour locations would close at midnight and reopen at 6 a.m.ET the following day.
The Pennsylvania-based chain cited the same reasons as Publix in a press release, “The decision comes as part of the company’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will give the members of the store team additional time to clear the shelves and to be refilled when daily deliveries arrive. ‘
A customer wears a protective mask when she picks up a box of diapers on Saturday at a Costco store in Novato, California
Costco customers wait in the rain to enter the store on Saturday in San Leandro, California
Hordes of shoppers rushed to stock up on Costco in Novato, California, on toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies on Saturday, as communities begin to squat due to coronavirus
Customers push Saturday carts filled with supplies at a Costco store on Saturday in Novato, California
In the northeast, Wegmans is also terminating the 24-hour service, allowing shops to be cleaned and items to be restocked, the supermarket chain announced Friday.
“We are changing our opening hours to better serve our customers and communities,” said the New York-based company.
With the exception of Brooklyn, all Wegmans stores in New York close at midnight, while the Brooklyn store closes at 11 PM.
Stores in New England, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania (excluding Erie) and North Carolina also close at 11pm, while the store in Erie closes at midnight. The stores in Maryland close at 10 PM.
Panic shopping hits Plano, Texas on Saturday, because this goal limits the amount of bottled water per customer
Shoppers lined up at this Target in Plano, Texas on Saturday as the frenzy of panic purchases continues
Shoppers will leave a Costco in San Leandro, California on Friday. Officials said Friday that the Los Angeles Unified School District and San Diego’s school districts will close from March 16 due to the coronavirus threat
This Publix in Miami Beach put signs in their store saying that hand soap and sanitizers are limited to two of each item per customer. The sections of meat, toilet paper and hand disinfection were almost empty
View of empty shelves at Wegmans while customers purchase supplies due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Alexandria, Virginia
Harris Teeter, a major Southeast grocery chain, said on Saturday that it will close stores at 9pm every night to focus on cleaning and replenishing, and on the health of their employees
Harris Teeter’s new opening hours are starting from Sunday night, the store in North Carolina said.
Other large supermarket chains have said they are considering cutting.