On May 19, 2020, customers shop at the Walmart store in Chicago, Illinois. Walmart reported a 74% increase in US online sales for the quarter ending April 30, and same-store sales increased 10% for the same period as Coronavirus’s impact helped boost sales .
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Since Saturday, Walmart has been monitoring and counting the number of customers entering its stores to ensure that it does not exceed the capacity limit, as coronovirus cases are increasing at record rates nationwide .
Back until April, Walmart is restricting the number of people in its big-box stores to no more than about 1,000 square feet, or about 20% of its capacity per store. The company stated that those levels may also vary depending on the local level.
However, for some time, the largest retailer in the United States had physically stopped counting people as they came in and left.
A Walmart spokesperson said in an emailed statement, “We know from months of data in our stores that our stores did not have the capacity to measure 20% of our health.” “With an abundance of caution, we have resumed counting the number of people entering and leaving our stores.”
The move continues to advance America’s new Kovid record. According to data from COVID Tracking Project run by journalists across the Atlantic, more than 68,500 are hospitalized with Kovid-19 nationwide, more than at any other point during the epidemic.
And cases continue to increase. According to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, in the past seven days, the US has reported an average of more than 139,900 cases per week, up 35% from a week earlier. Seven-day average daily new cases have hit a fresh record everyday for at least the last ten days, Hopkins data show.
Major grocery chains have now begun to restore purchase limits on certain items such as toilet paper and hand sanitizers. In the spring, when the epidemic arrived in the US, frantic consumers kept in stores, stockpiled, and left shelves of grocery staples such as canned beans and frozen vegetables. The industry referred to the reaction as “panic buying”. Many retailers were not prepared to increase spending on the need.
Kroger and Florida-based Publix Super Markets earlier this month restored purchase limits on bath tissue and paper towels.
Giant Food, an American supermarket chain that operates locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, is again limiting the purchase of toilet paper and paper towels.
Wegman has placed limits on paper towels, household cleaners and disinfected wipes.
Retailers and grocers must now navigate the epidemic during the holiday season, attracting more people to the store to buy gifts and supplies for family dinners.
In an effort to spread customers’ holiday trips, Walmart has said that it will still be in-store Black Friday sales, but the company is breaking them down into three separate sales events.
-CNBC’s Will Fayur Contributed to this story.