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Walmart in Farmington closes for cleaning

Third-party company called in to clean, sanitize store

FARMINGTON – A Walmart in Farmington closed Thursday afternoon to allow a third-party cleaning crew to sanitize the building.

Walmart on East Main Street shut its doors at 2 p.m. and was to remain closed until Saturday morning.

“Walmart’s place within the community is considered essential, and we understand the role we play in providing customers with food, medicine and other needed items during this time,” said Walmart Corporate Communications Director Charles Crowson.

While the company declined to disclose any COVID-19-positive results, the New Mexico Environment Department released a document Wednesday that listed businesses and educational institutions in the state where COVID-19 cases have been identified.

According to the document, Walmart on East Main Street showed four cases that came from positive rapid test results.

Crowson said the precautions were for the safety of the employees and customers. All employees will be subject to a health screening before returning to work Saturday morning and will be provided masks and gloves.

“These protocols are in addition to the extensive measures we’ve put in place during the pandemic to help protect our associates and customers, including installing sneeze guards at registers, temperature checks and mandatory mask-wearing for associates, placing social-distancing signage and enacting emergency leave policy for associates who are unable or uncomfortable coming to work,” Crowson said.

Betty Mauldin and Doris Goode of Navajo Dam made the trip to Walmart to pick up supplies that only Walmart carries for Goode’s husband. After an hour and a half in line, Mauldin said going to Walmart on West Main was scary.

“This one was shut down for COVID (in November), and now they’re cleaning the other one for COVID,” Mauldin said.

Mauldin said she wished the elderly women standing in line could be provided chairs.

“It’s hard for them to wait that long in line,” she said.

While they waited, Mauldin said a fight almost broke out between two women because one allegedly cut in line. Mauldin said Walmart did not intervene in the situation; rather, the women “worked it out” themselves.

The company said it will continue to enforce the policy for customers to wear masks.

“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,” it said.

Walmart on East Main Street is set to reopen at 7 a.m. Saturday.

mmitchell@durangoherald.com