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Coronavirus store closings, store hours: What’s open amid COVID-19


As normal everyday life grinds to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic, some of the nation’s biggest retailers have temporarily closed thousands of stores to help stem the spread of the virus. Simon Property Group, the largest owner of shopping malls in the nation, closed all of its properties on Wednesday.

Not everyone is deserting their posts. Grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies are keeping their doors open to help people stay stocked with essentials, though many are shortening store hours to clean and restock. Walmart, the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, shortened hours beginning Thursday, for the second time in less than a week.

Those stores are joined by office supply and home improvement chains which say they too provide essentials. Among the justifications: they provide products people — including first responders — need in a natural disaster. Others say they sell supplies that people need to work and school their children from home. 

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Home Depot has cut store hours because of the coronavirus but stores remain open.

And then there are retailers like GameStop and Barnes & Noble, who are staying open with reduced hours and have taken steps to implement social distancing. Experts say these stores don’t fulfill a critical need in the same way as pharmacies and home improvement stores.

Neil Saunders, managing director of retail consultancy Global Data, put it bluntly.

“They probably want to remain open to make money,” Saunders told USA TODAY, a move he said could be a mistake. “There is increasing pressure from staff and from the public for these kinds of retailers to justify why they are open.”

Providing essentials during COVID-19 crisis

Starting Thursday, Walgreens stores nationwide have adjusted hours. Most locations, including 24-hour stores, will be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. The drive-thru at 24-hour pharmacy locations will remain open for pickup of prescriptions and other select products.

Competitor CVS isn’t making a similar move at this time.

“We currently have no plans to close stores or alter hours of operation unless directed to do so,” T.J. Crawford, CVS Health vice president, external affairs, said in a statement to USA TODAY.





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