Walmart reduces store hours to give employees time to replenish shelves

Marianne Wilson
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Walmart employee stocking shelf

Walmart’s 24-hour U.S. stores are now open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The retail giant has reduced its store operating hours in order to give employees more time to restock shelves and clean and sanitize stores as its deals with a surge of shoppers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The change took effect Sunday, March 15.

Other grocery retailers have made similar moves for similar reasons, including smaller specialty chains such as  Natural Grocers whose 157 stores are now closing at 7:35 p.m. and  regional powerhouses such as Publix Super Markets, which said its 1,200-pus stores are closing at 8 p.m. until further notice. Texas grocer H-E-B has reduced its store hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to allow its employees "to work diligently overnight to fully prepare the store for customers during the day." It tweeted that it would return to normal hours and services "as soon as we can" and added the hashtag #SlowTheSpreadTexas.

Walmart has more than 4,700 Walmart and Neighborhood Market locations across the nation of which about 2,200 are open 24 hours.  (Sam’s Club has adjusted its shopping hours  to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., local time.)

“As we make this change, associates will continue to work the hours and shifts they are scheduled, and our supply chain and trucking fleet will continue to move products and deliver to stores on their regular schedules,” stated Dacona Smith, executive VP and COO, Walmart U.S., in a letter posted on the chain’s website.

Smith also thanked employee for their “incredible work during this time.”

“I know it hasn’t always been easy, but your entire Walmart family is so proud of what you are doing and the important difference you are making, both for your neighbors and for your country.”

Last week, Walmart announced a COVID-19 emergency leave policy that is designed to give employees flexibility to stay home if they are not feeling well, and pay options and support if they are affected by the virus.