- Approximately 4,000 of 4,700 Walmart locations will have closing times at 10:30 pm instead of 8 pm.
- All Walmarts still open at 7 am except for Tuesday, which has earlier shopping time for seniors.
- These extended hours are designed to thin crowds and help employees adjust.
The coronavirus pandemic affected store schedules everywhere. Initially, many essential retailers had shorter hours. Now, Walmart joins other chains with plans to stay open later. They hope this can help people spread their presence out thinner through the day.
Transitioning to an extended schedule also gets employees ready for more hectic schedules when the holidays roll in. So far, closing times remain the primary change and Walmart plans on maintaining its usual cleaning protocols to keep stores hygienic. Extended hours affect “most” Walmart locations, CNN writes.
Most Walmart closing times change
Many Walmart stores now have later closing times. Instead of closing at 8 pm, some Walmarts now close at 10:30. The chain announced the change Friday and anticipates 4,000 out of its 4,700 stores in the U.S. will have those new hours by this past Monday. All Walmarts shall have the same opening time of 7 am. Tuesday stands as the only exception, though, which offers earlier shopping hours for seniors.
Cleaning protocols also remain the same as employees work to ensure a sanitary shopping experience since the coronavirus can spread in a few ways. While approximately 700 Walmart stores still have earlier closing times, a spokesperson said the chain will “continue assessing our remaining stores to determine the right time to expand their closing hours.”
Why the sudden change?
During the early days of the pandemic, many stores, including Walmart, cut their hours in various ways. Some states see spikes in cases, but Walmart hopes these new hours can ease that. The spokesperson explained that longer hours could let customers spread out when they’re there over a longer period of time, instead of denser crowds in a few hours.
GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders feels it will also make things convenient for customers and employees alike. The last quarter of the year sees back-to-school shopping, Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, and holiday gift buying. Longer hours, the advisory firm’s managing director feels, can get employees ready for a more intense schedule associated with the holidays.