March 5, 2024

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Walmart, Costco and Target banned from selling ‘non-essentials’ – how to get what you need

Empty shelves in retail stores are a familiar sight to many Americans at this time. Between shoppers prepping and panic-buying, it’s tricky enough to find the essentials we need on top of reducing time outside our homes.

To help ease the burden on retailers, people are turning to online shopping to get the supplies they can’t find anywhere else. Tap or click here to see how you can check what items are in stock at your favorite stores and websites.

In addition to panic-buyers, many people are taking time to visit retail stores to ease their quarantine boredom, but that might not be the case for much longer. Some of the biggest retailers in the country are limiting what can be purchased inside their brick-and-mortar stores to reduce foot traffic and viral exposure. Here’s what we know.

When we say ‘only essential business,’ we mean it!

Shopping sprees and retail therapy aren’t encouraged in the age of COVID-19, to put it mildly. Evidence continues to mount that social distancing is highly effective at flattening the curve of infection, but large crowds in retail stores continue to create exposure risks for shoppers.

That’s why some of the biggest chains in country like Walmart, Costco and Target have been banned by local governments from selling “non-essential” items at some of their physical stores.

Reports from the states of Vermont and Indiana describe new government ordinances that restrict the sale of non-essential goods like clothing, electronics and toys in big-box retail stores. These items have either been moved into storage or roped off from customers in an effort to reduce foot traffic and decrease the strain on local hospitals.

It’s not like shoppers weren’t warned, either. States with stay-at-home orders in place urge citizens to venture out for “essential business only,” but reports from Business Insider describe retail workers noticing customers flooding stores to ease their boredom rather than buying supplies. These new rules just hammer the issue home even further.

While this is good and all, it might seem like an overreach to some people. Non-essential goods like clothing are still necessary to live comfortably, and we’d assume nobody wants to live with ripped underwear for the duration of quarantine.

Fortunately, these items are still for sale at every store — just not in a way you might be used to.

Restricted, but not forbidden

You might not be able to buy a new pair of pants inside Walmart, but you can certainly place an order online for delivery or curbside-pickup.

Both Walmart and Target offer in-store pick up for online orders if the items you want are in stock. All you need to do is choose the “in-store” pickup option when you place your order. If curbside pickup is available, you can also call the store to bring the items out to your car for you. This will reduce your viral exposure tremendously.

Delivery is an even better option since you don’t have to worry about interacting with anyone. All you’ll need to do is disinfect your package. Tap or click here to see how to properly clean your deliveries.

Costco, on the other hand, is relying on a third-party service called Instacart to ship groceries and other orders. This is the same service it’s using for at-home prescription deliveries. Tap or click here to see how to get your essential medicine delivered to you from the pharmacy.

In any case, not all stores will have the same policies in place, and these restrictions will vary from state to state. Give your local store a call and double-check with them to find out the exact rules and regulations it’s put into place for COVID-19.

It might sound tricky, but in the end, it’s better to go through hoops and stay socially distant than have an easier time shopping and end up infected. If you rely on deliveries and curbside pickup, you’re doing your part to flatten the curve and slow the spread. The fewer of us out shopping these days, the better.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.