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Walmart closes Keeaumoku store for third-party deep cleaning

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Walmart employee Berlin Sigra cleans the Keaaumoku Street store’s front entrance windows on this afternoon. The store was closed Sunday for a deep cleaning and will reopen on Tuesday.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Walmart employee Berlin Sigra cleans the Keaaumoku Street store’s front entrance windows on this afternoon. The store was closed Sunday for a deep cleaning and will reopen on Tuesday.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Walmart employees Berlin Sigra, left, and Seth Masutoi clean the Keaaumoku Street store’s front entrance windows today. The store was closed today for a deep cleaning and will reopen on Tuesday.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Walmart employees Berlin Sigra, left, and Seth Masutoi clean the Keaaumoku Street store’s front entrance windows today. The store was closed today for a deep cleaning and will reopen on Tuesday.

Walmart has temporarily closed its Honolulu store so that third-party cleaners can deep clean and sanitize the building as part of a company-initiated program taking place at select stores across the nation.

The store, located at 700 Keeaumoku St., closed at 2 p.m. Sunday and will reopen at 7 a.m. Tuesday to give associates time to further clean shelves and restock shelves.

Charles Crowson, Walmart’s senior manager of corporate communications, said Walmart’s third-party cleaning closure is the first in Hawaii, but that the company has closed other stores across the country for cleaning as part of its proactive approach to COVID-19.

“We’ve chosen select locations across the country this is something that we’ve been doing since the very beginning. We’re focusing on this store right now and we’ll make other assessments as the days progress,” Crowson said. “No more stores in Hawaii are scheduled at this time.”

Crowson said Walmart is taking a close look at areas around the country that have been impacted by COVID-19 and continue to be impacted by COVID-19. A couple of weeks ago, he said the company temporarily closed a couple of stores in Florida and Washington state for deep cleaning.

“Honolulu and the Hawaiian Islands are clearly an area where we have seen, we all have seen for that matter, we consume news just like everyone else, we’ve seen an increase in cases. So in terms of a proactive approach to this we’re going to go ahead and take care of this store now,” he said. “It is a proactive measure initiated by the company.”

Due to the privacy protections of Walmart associates, Crowson declined to confirm whether any COVID-19 cases had been linked to the Keeaumoku store.

“Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and customers, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health experts,” Walmart said in an official statement. “When the store reopens Tuesday, we will continue conducting associate health screens and temperature checks, and all associates will be provided with facemasks and gloves.”

Walmart’s statement said it also had taken steps to protect associates and customers from COVID-19 by installing sneeze guards at registers, limiting the number of customers in a store at any one time, one-way aisle shopping, placing social distancing signage and enacting emergency leave policy for associates who are unable or uncomfortable coming to work.

Customers also are required to wear protective facial coverings while inside the building.

“We will continue working closely with elected and local health officials, adjusting how we serve the community while also keeping the health and safety of our customers and associates in mind,” Walmart said.

Walmart’s Downtown and Pearl City locations remain open for business.

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