Target implements new restrictions to reduce number of shoppers in stores

More retailers are placing restrictions on how many people can be in stores at one time to comply with social distancing protocols.
Target Store Customers
Tigard, Oregon, USA - Sep 18, 2019: Customers walking in and out of a Target Store in Tigard, a southwestern suburb within the Portland metro area.Getty Images stock
/ Source: TODAY

In an effort to help stop the spread of coronavirus, Target is joining other retailers that have limited how many people are permitted to shop in the store at one time.

In a statement released Thursday, the retail giant announced that starting Saturday April 4, stores will take new measures to promote social distancing which will involve monitoring and where necessary, metering, customer traffic in its nearly 1,900 stores nationwide.

"We're introducing additional social distancing and safety measures to help our guests and team members," read a post on the store's Instagram account posted Friday. "This means you will see masks & gloves for our team soon. We will also be monitoring & may limit the number of guests shopping inside your Target store."

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Target told TODAY Food that the occupancy limits will be determined based on the square footage of each store and that, if needed, a Target team member will provide a waiting area outside the store with social distancing markers.

"We’re incredibly proud of the commitment our more than 350,000 frontline team members have demonstrated to ensure millions of guests can count on Target, and we’ll continue to focus our efforts on supporting them,” said John Mulligan, Target's executive vice president and chief operating officer. “The measures we’re announcing today are aimed at ensuring we are creating a safe environment for the guests who continue to turn to Target, while also providing our team with additional resources as they fulfill an essential service in communities across the country.”

On March 18, Target stores started limited shopping hours at stores nationwide and implemented special shopping hours for the senior citizens.

Target joins other retailers including Kroger and Trader Joe's that have already been metering the number of shoppers allowed inside to reduce store congestion.

Starting Friday, Costco began limiting the number of shoppers entering the store to two per membership card. Earlier this week, Walmart shoppers at some locations were asked to enter and exit the store single file to limit the possibility of coronavirus exposure.

Still, not all shoppers are taking social distancing seriously. In Texas, the popular supermarket chain H-E-B has had difficulty convincing shoppers to change their ways in the face of the pandemic.

H-E-B president Scott McClelland called out shoppers in Texas for bringing their entire families on grocery runs.

“If you come to the store, don’t come with your entire family,” McClelland told Houston's KPRC.

"I was in the store yesterday and because people are bored, they’re like, 'Hey, let’s all go to the grocery store.' So, a family of six showed up," he continued. "Send one person, that way you lessen the ability for the virus to spread."