Local Walmart closes for deep clean amid rising COVID-19 cases

HERNANDO, MS — A local Walmart is closing temporarily for a deep clean after rising numbers of COVID-19.

According to a Walmart spokesperson, the Walmart Supercenter in Hernando located at 2600 Mcingvale Road closed at 2 p.m. Monday as part of a company-initiated program to allow third-party cleaning crews time to thoroughly clean and sanitize the building.

The location will remain closed through Jan. 4 to provide workers time to restock shelves and prep the store to reopen on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 6 a.m.

“I think it is a great idea as long as they get it clean,” said Bob Keith of Hernando. “Their shelves are pretty lacking right now. They need to be staffed too. There are long, long lines in there. There are not too many checkout people. I think it’s a great idea if they shut down and clean it.”

Keith told FOX13 he shops at the closed location often.

Walmart would not detail what criteria make them decide to close a store down, only saying that they do it when criteria meet a certain threshold.

Reby Johnson of Hernando doesn’t get it. “I don’t like it. I don’t like it. What good is it going to do, I mean, really? As contagious as the new variant is, I don’t think it is worth it, and I don’t think people are going to like it.” Johnson said.

A Walmart spokesperson said this is nothing new, and it has been done at other stores since the beginning of the pandemic.

FOX13 learned that the company had closed as many as ten other locations around the country for deep cleaning in the last five days.

“I think it is a good idea. COVID has really picked up in the last couple of weeks. Whatever we can do to stop it, that is a good idea,” Jason Hackworth of Memphis said.

Walmart Official Statement:

As an essential business and a member of the Hernando community, we understand the role we play in providing our customers with food, medicine and other essential items, especially at this time.

As you know, several areas across the country have begun seeing a renewed increase in positive COVID-19 cases, and we want to assist health officials working against the pandemic. In support of this effort, we have chosen to temporarily close our Hernando store location at 2600 Mcingvale Road 2 p.m. as part of an ongoing company-initiated program. This will allow extra time for a third-party specialist to further sanitize the store and will also give our associates additional time to restock shelves and prepare the store to once again serve the community. We plan to reopen the store to customers at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 5.

Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and the thousands of customers we serve daily, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health experts. We will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission.

In these counties and where there are state or local mask mandates, associates will be required to wear masks inside our facilities, including stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. You can find the county-by-county breakdown here. The CDC updates its data on transmission rates weekly, so the guidance on mask usage is likely to change over time in different locations.

When the store reopens Wednesday, we will continue conducting associate health assessments, and all unvaccinated associates must still wear face coverings.

In addition to offering COVID-19 vaccines to customers through walk-in or online appointments, we’re also offering easy access to vaccines for associates. Associates can receive their vaccinations at their home store pharmacy, on or off the clock. They’ll receive two hours of paid leave to receive their vaccination and up to three days paid leave, should they experience an adverse reaction.

These protocols and convenient access to vaccinations are in addition to the extensive measures we’ve put in place during the pandemic to help protect our associates and customers. We will continue working closely with elected and local health officials, adjusting how we serve the community while also keeping the health and safety of our customers and associates in mind.