PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Walmart is temporarily closing two of its stores in the Philadelphia region this week in order to clean the store and restock the shelves, the company announced Tuesday. The stores being shut down are in South Philadelphia, at 1675 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd, and in Williamstown, New Jersey, at 1840 S. Black Horse Pike.
The stores were closed as of 2 p.m. Tuesday and will reopen to customers on Thursday at 6 a.m.
The temporary closure is part of an ongoing company-initiated program by Walmart.
The South Philly store is one of 60 stores in the United States to be temporarily shut down.
Below is the full release:
"As an essential business and a member of the Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia store location at 1675 S Christopher Columbus Blvd at 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 Thursday, January 6.
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 Thursday, 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."
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