Walmart closed, sanitized dozens of stores over Omicron variant concerns

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Walmart closed nearly 60 stores for two days in December as a precaution against rising COVID-19 infections that have been driven by the Omicron variant, according to a report.

The largest retailer in the world, along with other major chains including CVS, Apple retail stores and various restaurants, closed the stores temporarily in Texas, New Jersey and Maryland to sanitize them, according to Reuters.

Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson confirmed to The Post that the company had closed nearly 60 locations last month, saying they were “not only in Texas and New Jersey,” without elaborating. He declined to confirm whether there were staff COVID-19 cases at the closed locations.

Crowson added that the closings were “not new to Walmart or Sam’s Club,” and that the chains occasionally have shut locations temporarily as a “proactive measure” based on local health data.

“When that data reaches certain thresholds, we make the decision to get ahead of the situation and proactively close the store for cleaning and sanitizing,” Crowson said.

The CDC recommends cleaning and closing off any areas where any infected people worked.
AP

According to an employee memo, a Walmart store in Maryland was closed last week because the community was experiencing a spike in cases, but Walmart told Reuters that no employees at the store had tested positive for the virus.

CVS closed “fewer than 10 stores” in December for cleaning purposes, the drugstore chain told Reuters. Walmart rival Target has not yet closed any stores for sanitizing, the retailer told Reuters.

Apple briefly closed its stores in New York City — but reopened them after a flurry of criticism on social media. The tech giant typically closes its stores when 10 percent of its staff has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Bloomberg. The week before Christmas, Apple had temporarily closed eight stores in five other states and Canada.

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, store closures were more common and retailers adopted policies and protocols for the closures that have recently been reinstated as the Omicron variant sweeps across the country.

The CDC recommends that stores whose workers are infected simply clean and close off the areas where the sick person worked.

Restaurants have also been forced to close temporarily, including Marea, the fine-dining hotspot on Central Park South, which closed in mid-December because of staff infections, The Post’s Steve Cuozzo reported

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