CHICAGO (CBS) — Walmart has announced national changes to help curb the spread of COVID-19. This comes less than a day after news broke of two employees who had worked at the Evergreen Park location died from the virus.
Every aspect of life looks different from before. Store chains across the country have announced changes to their stores nationwide this week.
Walmarts everywhere will now allow no more than five customers inside for each 1,000 square feet at any given time. That’s roughly 20% of the store’s capacity.
And now Evergreen Park is mourning the loss of the two employees — Wando Evans and Phillip Thomas.
Thomas’s sister says he worked there for nine years and was looking forward to turning 49 soon.
And he kept telling me he wasn’t feeling well. He said he called his doctor and the doctor told him to self quarantine himself a week ago, which I thought was totally wrong because he’s a diabetic as well,” she said.
He called for an ambulance on March 27 and died at the hospital two days later.
“I hope no one else dies at the Walmart,” McMiller said.”I don’t know if it’s a coincidence that two people died from that same Walmart. From what I understand he was out of work as well as my brother before he died.”
A Walmart spokesperson said the two men had not been inside the store for at least a week.
In response to their deaths the mayor of Evergreen Park Friday stripped the Walmart store of its liquor license. Since then the mayor’s office told CBS 2 that Mayor Sexton had a “very long” phone call meeting with Walmart. He has reinstated the store’s liquor license but only because of changes to their stores.
The changes don’t stop at Walmart.
In the last day, Target said they will add plastic sneeze protectors inside and hand out gloves and face masks to for their employees to wear while they work.
Target and Home Depot will also start limiting the number of people allowed inside at once.
Walmart issued the following statement in response to the deaths of the two employees:
“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store, and we are mourning along with their families. While neither associate had been at the store in more than a week, we took action to reinforce our cleaning and sanitizing measures, which include a deep-cleaning of key areas of the store. Within the last week, the store passed a third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment as well as a health department inspection. We have also taken the extra precaution of bringing in an outside company to further clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces in the store, which included the decontamination of front entrances, carts, registers and bathrooms, as well as food areas including produce and meat.
“Additionally, we have taken steps across the country to protect our associates and customers, including additional cleaning measures, installing sneeze guards at registers, placing social distancing decals on the floors and limiting the number of customers in a store at a given time. We’ll continue to take steps, such as screening associates, conducting temperature checks, and providing masks and gloves for associates that want to use them.
“We’ve been in contact with Mayor Sexton and after sharing the steps that we’ve taken, we are able to continue serving the needs of the community.”