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Target, Meijer and Walmart and other retailers are putting limits on the number of people allowed in stores at once in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

This is being done to try to curb the number of people who are still getting out even though Indiana is under a “Stay at Home” order. 

Stores have been flooded with customers and some are coming not only to shop, but to congregate and visit. 

Limiting the number of people in the stores can hopefully limit that. 

Local stores like Ace Hardware of Salem stopped allowing customers inside two weeks ago and began offering curbside service to pick up items they can call in and request or order online. 

Starting Saturday, Walmart said in a statement released online that they will limit the number of customers who can be in a store at once.

Stores will now allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity.

To manage this restriction, associates at a store will mark a queue at a single-entry door (at the Salem store, it’s the Grocery entrance) and direct arriving customers there, where they will be admitted one-by-one and counted.

Associates and signage will remind customers of the importance of social distancing while they’re waiting to enter a store – especially before it opens in the morning.

Once a store reaches its capacity, customers will be admitted inside on a “1-out-1-in” basis.

Shopping Inside the Store

Walmart noted they will also institute one-way movement through our aisles this week in a number of stores, using floor markers and direction from associates.

According to a statement by Walmart Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith, “We expect this to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop.”

“We’ll continue to put signage inside our stores to remind customers of the need to maintain social distancing – especially in lines,” Smith wrote. “And once customers check out, they will be directed to exit through a different door than they entered, which should help lessen the instances of people closely passing each other.”

Smith wrote, “We always want people to feel welcome at Walmart, and we know that in ordinary times a store is a gathering place for members of a community to connect and socialize. We look forward to the time when that is again the case; however, we now want to prioritize health and safety by encouraging customers to do their shopping at a distance from others, then head home.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered restaurants and bars to remain closed through May 1. However they can continue to offer drive-thru or carryout service. 

Grocery stores and some retailers were allowed to remain open as “essential” businesses.