As of April 4, Target and fellow big-box retailer Walmart implemented new social distancing policies to limit the number of people that can be in their stores at a time, joining ranks with Costco and other retailers.
Here’s what’s happening:
Kroger cuts the number of customers allowed in-store at one time by half.
Like other retailers and grocers, as of April 7, Kroger has stepped up its efforts to promote social distancing by reducing the number of customers in the stores from 1 per 60 square feet to 1 in 120 square feet.
The average combination (grocery and pharmacy) store is 76,000 square feet which would allow 633 customers at one time.
Unlike Target, who uses employees to keep count of customers entering and exiting the store, Kroger will rely on its QueVision infrared sensors to count their customers.
East Coast wholesaler BJs reduced customers allowed in stores by 80 percent.
Although the number will vary according to a BJ’s store square footage which averages 70,000-130,000, the number of members allowed in a BJs at one time will be limited to 20% of that building’s capacity.
After calling several BJs locations I found:
- North Canton, OH: Normal Capacity 650. Current capacity 130
- Plymouth, MA: Normal capacity 7187. Current capacity 143
- Hollywood, FL: Normal capacity 700. Current capacity 140
Target and Walmart are counting customers as well as limiting entrances and exits.
Like at a nightclub or amusement park, Target and Walmart staffers will be clicking counting devices as people come in and out of stores. Target and Walmart employees have said they will limit the entrances and exits to ensure shopper counts are accurate. Expect the non-automatic doors to be locked.
Big Target stores have limits of 320-400 people at a time.
After calling Target stores around the country, we’ve learned Target stores 100,000 square feet in size or larger are limiting the number of shoppers to between 320 and 400.
A 135,000-square foot Target in Columbus, Ohio — the average size of a Target in the U.S. — is allowing no more than 344 people in their stores.
Smaller-format Target stores are more inconsistent.
A 33,000-square foot Target in Oakland sticks to the average square footage per shopper, with a limit of 130 people. Meanwhile, an equal-sized Target in Miami Beach limits by the hour instead (72 shoppers/hr). Another smaller Target in the Washington, D.C. area said it wasn’t participating in customer limits (although, a 124,000-square foot Target in Richmond, Texas said they weren’t participating, either).
That said, since Target has stopped selling non-essential items at some stores, the total square footage available to shoppers could be lower.
If your Target hits the limit, shoppers will wait in outdoor overflow areas.
Should Target stores need it, there will be a waiting area outside that spaces people 6 feet apart. A sampling of Target employees revealed that most stores aren’t worried about hitting those limits.
Expect shopper limits of 125 to 500 at Walmart.
Walmart’s policies and formulas are likely to be similar to Targets, but those stores haven’t released details of their limits. As a retailer with somewhat similar products and store layout, their limits are likely to be similar.
Walmart stores ranging from 30,000 to 206,000 square feet expect limits of 125 to 500 shoppers — but check your local store to be sure.