Walmart temporarily closed its Montrose location at 16750 S Townsend Ave. Tuesday afternoon as part of a company-initiated program in response to the increased COVID-19 cases in the county.
The store will remain closed until 6 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, to allow cleaning crews time to “thoroughly clean and sanitize the building,” according to Walmart corporate spokesperson Ashley Nolan on Tuesday.
The closure will also give the staff time to restock shelves and prepare the store for Thursday morning’s reopening. The company wrote in a statement on Tuesday that it understands its role as an essential part of the community, providing food, medicine and other necessities during the pandemic.
The Montrose location manager confirmed with the Montrose Daily Press that this was a company-led decision and not a collaborative decision with Montrose County or the county’s public health department.
“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,” the statement reads. “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. Given the rise in positive cases through the Delta variant, we will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission.”
The company added that in counties with high levels of transmission, as well as in areas with state and local mask mandates, associates will be required to wear masks inside facilities, including stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.
Nolan wrote that the company’s home office has a team who evaluates criteria related to store locations and the communities it serves.
Once COVID-19-related data reaches certain thresholds, Walmart makes the decision to “get ahead of the situation and proactively close the store for cleaning and sanitizing.”
Once the Montrose location reopens Thursday morning, the company will continue conducting associate health assessments and all unvaccinated associates will be required to continue wearing face coverings.
Nolan confirmed that all other locations throughout the area, including the Delta location, will remain open to customers.
In addition to offering COVID-19 vaccines to customers through walk-in or online appointments, Walmart is also offering easy access to vaccines for associates. Associates can receive their vaccinations at their home store pharmacy, on or off the clock. Any staff receiving their vaccine will receive two hours of paid leave to receive their vaccination and up to three days paid leave, should they experience an adverse reaction.
For more information about how Walmart is responding to the ongoing pandemic, visit https://bit.ly/MontroseWalmart
Cassie Knust is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.