Did Walmart cut hours at their stores nationwide during the COVID-19 outbreak? Yes, this is true. The world's largest private employer announced that they would be reducing hours across the United States as the coronavirus continues to grow in terms of cases and deaths reported.
The claim appeared as a meme (archived here) where it was published by a Facebook user on March 14, 2020, under the title "Wal-mart Company Wide". It opened:
Attention Customers Effective March 15th, our temporary hours of operation will be from 6am - 11pm daily. Thank you for your understanding and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Social media users saw this
The meme of the memo looked like it could have been a fake, using simple lettering and only the Walmart symbol at the bottom of the page. In fact, many people questioned the veracity of the news. But a quick check of the company's website turns up this note to customers:
March 14, 2020
By Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Walmart U.S.
I could not be prouder of our associates and what they continue to accomplish for our customers. I don't think any of us have been through an experience like this, and we continue to be amazed at what our people, whether in the stores or in the supply chain, are doing to make sure customers have what they need.
To better support our associates and serve our customers, we will adjust our operating hours beginning Sunday, March 15. Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice. This will help ensure associates are able to stock the products our customers are looking for and to perform cleaning and sanitizing. Stores currently operating under more reduced hours (for example they regularly close at 10 p.m. or open at 7 a.m.) will keep their current hours of operation.
As we make this change, associates will continue to work the hours and shifts they are scheduled, and our supply chain and trucking fleet will continue to move products and deliver to stores on their regular schedules. As a reminder, we have a temporary COVID-19 emergency leave policy to support associates at this unprecedented time.
To our associates, thank you for your incredible work during this time. I know it hasn't always been easy, but your entire Walmart family is so proud of what you are doing and the important difference you are making, both for your neighbors and for your country.
The Walmart Facebook page has 32 million followers but did not post about the store closures. Their last post was on March 13, 2020, about shopping for pets.
Walmart was the target of a coronavirus hoax when a man claimed he was infected and was shopping at a Walmart in Gulfport, Louisiana. Lead Stories debunked this claim after the man admitted he was joking, and the two Walmart stores on Highway 49 in Gulfport said the man's story was fake.