Big box stores in El Paso to limit store capacity to help reduce virus spread

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EL PASO, Texas(KTSM) — To help stymie the spread of coronavirus infections in El Paso, City officials said they have been working with big box stores to limit store capacity by returning to counting the number of customers entering the store.

Walmart, for instance, has said that it will return to what is called “metering” to limit the number of customers inside a single store at one time. The chain is doing so nationwide.

“Walmart began limiting capacity in our stores to 20% in early April, or lower if mandated by a local government, and that limit has remained in place since then,” said Casey Staheli, senior manager, National Media Relations for Walmart. “We know from months of metering data in our stores that the vast majority of the time our stores didn’t reach our self-imposed 20% metering capacity. Out of an abundance of caution, we have resumed counting the number of people entering and leaving our stores.”

KTSM 9 News reached out to the City to see what other stores they were in talks with and if those stores were considering metering, but haven’t yet heard back.

City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza emphasized the need for residents to stay at home as much as possible and to designate one person to do the shopping, rather than making it a family event.

“We continue reminding everyone to please stay home whenever possible and limit your outing to essential activities,” he said. “If you must go to the store, we ask that you choose only one person in the household to carry out those essential activities such as grocery shopping or pick up medicines.”

On Monday, the El Paso Department of Health reported 1,550 new COVID-19 cases and 7 virus related deaths.

The death toll in El Paso County now stands at 769, while the total number of positive cases in the Borderland reached 74,973.

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