BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Starting on Mar. 15th, Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets changed their hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice in a response to COVID-19.
According to Walmart, the change in hours is to, "help ensure associates can clean and stock products."
Walmart stores that already operate under more reduced hours, will keep current hours of operation, according to the store.
"As one would expect, paper products, cleaning supplies and other items are in high demand as customers prepare for the possible impact of COVID-19," according to Walmart. "We are working to replenish those items quickly, including diverting products to areas of the country where they are needed most and routing deliveries directly to stores.
Additionally, Walmart has authorized its store managers "to manage their inventory, including the discretion to limit sales quantities on items that are in unusually high demand," said Walmart.
Locally, at around 5:45 a.m. Mar. 16th, KBTX witnessed a line form outside of the Walmart Supercenter on Briarcrest Drive in Bryan before the doors opened at 6:00 a.m.
Customers like Shelbi Bayer compared the experience to Black Friday shopping.
"I told my husband, if we are going to get it (toilet paper and other items), I feel like we need to go as soon as the stores open otherwise we may be out," said Bayer. "We may just have to make do with what we have back home."
Following their shopping this morning customers told KBTX's Fallon Appleton, the local Walmart was out of items like eggs, toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizers.
"Every time we come in (Walmart) there is still none," said Marlee Criaco. "We came yesterday, but a lot of the supplies were gone. So we thought if we caught them early...It didn't work."
However, while those supplies were low, many items were in stock and some customers were able to get a majority of the items they needed.
Also, many customers commented that the mood inside Walmart was calm and courteous.
"It was great," said Sharon Green. "Everybody was nice. I just didn't expect this many people to be out this early."
Walmart is still offering online shopping, online delivery and pickup. The store also has a Walmart Pay feature on its mobile application to use when paying at the register.
In regard to business operations and policies, Walmart said, "We are monitoring this situation daily, and, as we do with any unusual event, we will watch what's happening locally and adjust business operations and policies as needed. We are in close communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other health organizations, and are following their guidelines as well as the advice of our own Chief Medical Officer."