Jun 05 , 2020

The Newest Guidelines for Shopping at Walmart, Target and Trader Joe’s

SPRINGFIELD, VA - AUGUST 14: Customers leave Target August 14, 2003 in Springfield, Virgina. Target Corp. reported a four percent increase in second-quarter profits. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

To say the coronavirus outbreak has impacted our shopping habits would be a vast understatement. Gone are the days of strolling down the aisles at Trader Joe’s or swinging by Target without a mask. Now we go in with a list and a plan — that is, if we don’t get grocery delivery.

It seems the executives behind these stores are also worried about the safety of their customers and employees. No one wants shoppers lingering longer than they have to, and many places have taken extra measures to ensure everyone’s safe while they’re picking up the essentials.

Here are the changes you can expect in the coming weeks.


Walmart is limiting the number of people in stores at any given time. The stores will allow no more than five people for each 1,000 square feet — 20 percent of the store’s capacity, according to the press release — though this may depend on the state you live in and the regulations you’re following. Walmart workers will keep track of how many people are inside and maintain a social distancing-friendly line by the entrance, while allowing shoppers in one at a time.

Once you’re in, you might notice another big change: Some stores are adding one-way aisles, enforced by employees and signs. And when you finish checking out, you’ll leave through a different door than the one you entered, so everyone isn’t moving through the same doors.

For guidance on what to buy, check our expert’s advice on how to stock a pantry.


Target is taking measures to track and limit customers, too. If too many people try to get in, stores will “meter” the crowd, meaning people will have to line up outside to wait their turn. Target employees will “help guests into a designated waiting area outside with social distancing markers” while others will guide them inside the store to keep things moving.

So don’t expect to get your 10,000 steps in at Target anytime soon. Instead, buy items online and pick them up in the store or have them delivered.

Need some advice on how to spend your quarantine time? Here’s how to cook, clean and make the most of your time indoors.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s changes aren’t as extensive as Walmart’s, but they’re certainly worth noting. First, all stores are closing at 8 p.m. (9 p.m. for NYC-based stores). Trader Joe’s is also implementing more cautious cleaning routines and limiting the number of patrons in their stores at a given time. On top of that, Trader Joe’s is encouraging the use of face masks, though you may be required to wear one anyway according to your state’s regulations.

You won’t be able to sample anything while you shop, but at a time like this why would you want to? And like many other stores, Trader Joe’s is dedicating the first hour of shopping time for those who are 60 or older, as well as those with disabilities.

Running low on supplies? Don’t panic. These smart strategies for ways to make your stockpile last longer.

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