Ohio Stores Restrict Number of Shoppers to Comply with Gov. DeWine's Social Distancing Update

Expect to begin waiting in line outside when a store reaches a determined capacity

click to enlarge Walmart - Photo: JeepersMedia // CC BY 2.0
Photo: JeepersMedia // CC BY 2.0

Last week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that Ohio's Stay at Home order will be extended until 11:59 p.m. May 1, with some specific updates that will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. April 6. 

One of those updates is that the essential businesses who are allowed to remain open must determine and enforce the maximum number of customers allowed in their store at a given time, and make sure that the customers inside — and out — are following safe social distancing requirements. 

According to the order, which you can read in full here, "Every store shall prominently display at every entrance the maximum capacity number. Every store shall ensure that baskets, shopping carts and the like are properly cleaned between customers. If a line is present either inside or outside the store, a six-foot distance shall be maintained between those not residing in the same household."

All parts of the Stay at Home order can be enforced by state and local law enforcement, and violations are considered a second degree misdemeanor, which can include a fine of up to $750, 90 days in jail or both.

"We understand that this is tough — it is very difficult. But, I would not be making these decisions if it wasn't a mater of life and death," said Governor DeWine in a release about the stay at home extension. "We have to keep this monster down. It's not dead — it's very much alive." 

Here are some of the ways grocers and mega stores are updating their policies to comply with the order.

At Walmart, the company says it is allowing no more than five customers per 1,000 square feet of the store at any given time — 20 percent of the store's capacity, they say. And there will be separate doors for entry and exit.

"To manage this restriction, the associates at a store will mark a queue at a single-entry door (in most cases the Grocery entrance) and direct arriving customers there, where they will be admitted one-by-one and counted," the company says in a release. "Associates and signage will remind customers of the importance of social distancing while they’re waiting to enter a store — especially before it opens in the morning."

After a store reaches that 20-percent capacity, people will be let in on a one-in, one-out system. 

Walmart will also be making aisles one-way at some of their stores (via floor markers and direction from associates) to help customers maintain social distancing while they shop.

At Meijer, the company is asking customers to limit the amount of people making a shopping trip from the same family or group. They will also be monitoring and "managing" the amount of customers in the store. Meijer has also installed signage about social distancing.

At Target, they say they will begin actively monitoring and limiting the number of shoppers based on a store's square footage. 

"If metering is needed, a team member will help guests into a designated waiting area outside with social distancing markers, while others will guide guests inside the store and keep things moving quickly and conveniently. It’s another step to encourage social distancing, on top of the signage, floor decals and audio messages already in place at our stores," says a release.

They have also already implemented team members to clean carts and checklanes for each guest.

Costco has also updated its policy to only allow two people in the store at a time on each membership card.

Kroger has not yet released its official policy.