The Real Reason Walmart Is Cutting Store Hours

Beginning Sunday, March 15, Walmart will reduce the hours of operation at its stores and neighborhood marketplaces across the country as a part of its response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Stores that have not already cut hours will adopt a new schedule from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., which will affect 2,200 stores nationwide (via Walmart). There are 4,700 stores in the United States, many of which are typically open 24 hours per day, but some stores started opening later, at 7 a.m. or closing earlier, around 10 p.m., prior to this corporate-level change (via Market Watch).

Workers will continue to receive their morning or night shifts, though it is worth noting that a Walmart employee in Kentucky has been confirmed to have coronavirus. The retailer has increased its sanitizing in stores and has promised to pay ill or quarantined workers. In addition to its safety precautions, Walmart also has plans to enact a per-customer limit on some items that have become increasingly in demand. Walmart has even started planning for the future by exploring easier ways to sanitize shopping carts while they encourage customers to try using the mobile delivery or store pick-up options in the present (via Walmart).

Other stores are cutting hours, too

Other stores are taking precautions too. Kroger has placed restrictions on items that customers are panic-buying, which, according to Market Watch, will help keep price-gouging and black market activity to a minimum. The publication has also reported that Target is stepping up in the wake of the coronavirus too by increasing its sanitation steps in stores and limiting buyers to lower quantities of in-demand products.

Other stores that are reducing hours or completely closing stores until late March include Apple, Urban Outfitters, Warby Parker, and Nike. These stores are closing for at least 12 days, and some are closing until March 27th or 28th, according to USA Today. Other stores with restricted hours or altered business hours include a variety of grocery stores like Kroger, Trader Joe's, Publix, Aldi, and Albertsons among many others. Most stores have listed their nationwide store hours online, so customers can check the new schedule. 

If you are uncertain about your local store's hours, especially specialty or locally-owned operations like co-ops, it might be best to call ahead to check if they're open.