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Miami Walmart Temporarily Closes For Deep COVID Cleaning

MAMI (CBSMiami) – A second Walmart has shut its doors due to the coronavirus.

The first location to temporarily close for cleaning was the Walmart Supercenter in northwest Miami-Dade. Now the Walmart on NW 79 Street and NW 39 Avenue is doing the same thing.

"I think these days you have to sanitize for our protection," said Eric, one of the Walmart shoppers who was turned away Saturday.

In a statement about the closure, a company spokesperson wrote:

"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 Miami store location at 3200 NW 79th St. today at 2 p.m. as part of an ongoing company-initiated program."

Shoppers who were in the store right before the shutdown are mixed into the move.

"It's terrible that they have to do that because there are tons of people inside shopping, some without mask so hopefully everything will work out," said shopper Tawana Akins.

"If I had knew that had an issue, I probably wouldn't have gone here but now it's too late I already went in there and got my stuff and I'm back so hopefully nothing will happen," Bari Nasary.

But statewide a lot is happening. From December 24 to 30 there were 298,455 new COVID cases. The number almost double from the previous week of December 17 to 23 when the new COVID case count was 125,201. And on New Year's Eve, the state added an addition 56,865 cases, numbers that had many residents on high alert.

"That's scary, it's almost like a movie or something. It's something we should take seriously, it's for real, especially for the older people," added another would-be Walmart shopper.

As for the store's temporary closure, the company says it will allow third party cleaning crews time to thoroughly clean and sanitize the building. It's a move some customers like Carmen Perayla-Prada says is a great idea.

"It's good because the customer will be safe when they open," added Perayla-Prada.

Walmart officials say the thorough cleaning will include removing all the items from the shelves and as a result the store will remain closed through January 2 and reopen at 6 a.m. on January 3 to allow time to restock those shelves.

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