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  • Jada Hill

Death of 24-hour Walmart’s

Following the pandemic, Walmart’s 24-hour Supercenters temporarily changed their operating hours. Nearly two years later, customers are reminiscent of how things were and urged to return 24-hour store hours.

Photo courtesy of Jada Hill, stores no longer have temporary store hours stickers placed on the windows.

It’s coming up on two years since 24-hour Walmart’s have been taken away from us.

By March of 2020, COVID-19 was in full swing. It had everyone shut in their households and businesses reducing their store hours or completely closing their doors. The international department store chain, Walmart, was no different. On March 14, 2020, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Walmart, US, Dacona Smith, released a statement that announced the change in operating hours. She stated that the change was “to better support our associates and serve our customers.”

The change in hours was to benefit the associates and the customers. Associates would be able to stock products and clean and sanitize the store after closing hours in reasonable efforts to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The temporary change has appeared to be a permanent one or at the very least a lasting one. As the world continues to open, Walmart’s temporary operating hours haven’t budged much. The initial change in operating hours went from 24-hours to opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 8:30 p.m., reserving “special shopping hours'' on set days for customers aged 60 and older. Since then, the operating hours have extended to opening at 6 a.m. to varying closing hours between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. based on location.

Customers felt that the change made sense initially. However, they think the reduced store hours are no longer necessary with previous limitations lifted. “At first, I understood the need to change the store hours. It kept folks out of stores and in a sense helped stop the spread of COVID,” says Keivonte Davis, a Walmart shopper. “But now everything is probably as close to normal as things are going to get. I’m not even seeing what the difference is if while I shop, I can still see employees stocking and cleaning.”

Throughout various Walmart parking lots, you can hear on an intercom that Walmart has changed their store hours to convenience shoppers so that associates can stock and clean during their closed periods.

The change in store hours serves more as an inconvenience to other customers. “If everyone is back outside, I don’t quite understand why can’t Walmart return the stores to 24-hours,” says Tia Anderson, a Walmart customer. “People have already continued to their old ways before the pandemic.

I feel as though this overcrowds the stores and creates long lines. I miss 3 a.m. Walmart trips when the store would be empty, and I didn’t have to risk running into people.” Walmart has not released any statements as to if or when they plan to return to 24-hours of operation.

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