Target Ramps Up Social Distancing by Limiting Number of Shoppers in Stores

Target is stepping up its safety precautions to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Starting tomorrow, the retailer will actively monitor and limit shopper traffic in its nearly 1,900 outposts across the country as part of an effort to promote social distancing. It will also provide face masks and gloves to its more than 350,000 store associates and distribution center workers.

“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,” EVP and COO John Mulligan said in a statement, “while also providing our team with additional resources as they fulfill an essential service in communities across the country.”

Target explained that occupancy limits, which vary by location, depend on square footage to reduce the possibility of congestion in stores. If metering is required, employees will provide a designated waiting area for shoppers outside the building with distancing markers.

What’s more, all stores and distribution facilities will receive “high-quality” disposable face masks and gloves within the next two weeks. It will also donate two million KN95 respirator masks to medical professionals and and is looking to secure additional inventory for those in “critical need.”

The Minneapolis-based chain has already enforced rigorous cleaning routines at its locations and added Plexiglass partitions to registers, as well as offers contactless order pickup and home delivery to customers. Curbside pickup for groceries has been temporarily suspended, as the company acknowledged it wouldn’t have time to properly train workers.

Last week, Target — which has focused its business on providing food, medicine, cleaning products, pantry stock-up items and other products to customers amid the health crisis — reported comps that surged more than 20% in March: Although its apparel and accessories department was down 20%, the essentials as well as food and beverage categories saw sales jump upwards of 50%.

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