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Walmart limits the number of customers in stores to help fight the spread of coronavirus

No more than five customers are allowed per 1,000 square feet

People wearing masks and gloves wait to checkout at Walmart on April 03, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th
People wearing masks and gloves wait to checkout at Walmart on April 03, 2020 in Uniondale, New York. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th (2020 Getty Images)

(CNN) -- Walmart on Saturday began limiting the number of customers who can be in its stores at once because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have been concerned to still see some behaviors in our stores that put undue risk on our people," Walmart's executive vice president and chief operating officer Dacona Smith wrote in a Friday blog post. "We want to encourage customers to bring the fewest number of people per family necessary to shop."

No more than five customers are allowed per 1,000 square feet in the store at any given time, the retail giant announced in the blog post. Once a store reaches that capacity, a customer can't enter until another exits.

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Walmart is using floor markers, asking people to move in one direction in each aisle and avoid close contact with others. Customers will be directed to use a different door to exit than the one they entered.

"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," Smith wrote.

Walmart previously announced measures to deal with the pandemic, including expanded paid leave ad closing stores overnight to clean and restock. It also began making gloves, masks available to employees.

Other retailers have made similar changes. As of March 23, Best Buy limited customers to no more than 10 to 15 in its stores. Target said in a Thursday press release it would limit the number of shoppers “when needed” and that “occupancy limits will vary by location.”