What to Know
- The Walmart store along South Columbus Boulevard in South Philadelphia will be closed from 2 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Thursday.
- "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," a Walmart spokeswoman said.
- COVID is recently spreading at unprecedented rates in Philadelphia.
A popular South Philadelphia Walmart store has temporarily closed to undergo a deep cleaning as COVID cases spread throughout the Philadelphia region, the retailer said.
Walmart shut the doors on its 1675 S Christopher Columbus Blvd. location at 2 p.m. Tuesday "as part of an ongoing company-initiated program," company spokeswoman Ashley Nolan said in a statement.
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"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," Nolan said.
The store won't reopen until 6 a.m. Thursday.
"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," Nolan said.
As for workers, Walmart said it will "continue conducting associate health assessments, and all unvaccinated associates must still wear face coverings."
In its statement, the company did not say whether the closure was due to COVID cases among employees. NBC10 asked Nolan about employee cases, but she declined to offer specifics due to privacy concerns. "Our facilities tend to reflect the communities we serve," she said.
With the omicron variant of the coronavirus quickly spreading, Philadelphia reported more than 19,000 confirmed COVID cases last week, the highest weekly total since the start of the pandemic, according to city data.
The positivity rate for the week of Dec. 26 was also at a pandemic high of 42.7%. It is worth noting that testing is far more available now than at the start of the pandemic in 2020.
"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," Nolan said.
Walmart started the temporary closures back in 2020. "This is a proactive measure, based on market-specific data, and is intended to present a safe in-store environment for our associates and customers," Nolan said.
Walmart drive-thru pharmacy will remain open to customers needing to fill prescriptions, the company said. Anyone with a pickup online order is encouraged to reschedule once the store reopens Thursday.
Other area Walmart stores remain open "at this time," Nolan said.