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Target, Best Buy to Reduce Hours

It's getting more and more difficult to operate stores during the pandemic. Both hometown retailers are stepping up employee benefits.

Target, Best Buy to Reduce Hours
Target says it is fast tracking essentials. Empty shelves have become a frequent sight as customers stock up due to coronavirus fears.

Under increasing pressure to keep shelves stocked, customers served, and employees safe from coronavirus, Target is reducing store hours. Beginning Wednesday, stores will close by 9 p.m. daily. 

The goal is to give employees extra time to replenish shelves and deep clean the stores, CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement on Tuesday. Target will also reserve the first hour of shopping each Wednesday to support vulnerable guests including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns. Lunds & Byerly’s made a similar move this week, reserving 7 to 8 a.m. each day for grocery shoppers who are at higher risk of illness from COVID-19.

Empty shelves—something most Twin Cities shoppers have never seen—have become a regular occurrence with paper goods and non-perishables selling out almost daily due to escalating corornavirus concerns. Cornell said Target is fast-tracking the flow of products in highest demand including food, medicine and other essentials. Limits on some of those items will continue. 

For employees, Target announced changes to its back-up benefits including covering quarantine and illness pay. 

Best Buy also announced significant changes: store hours will be reduced to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. nationwide on Wednesday. Starting Monday, March 23 for at least two weeks, Best Buy plans to serve customers through curbside pickup and limited store access—only 10-15 at a time. “Customers will be escorted by an employee, maintaining the recommended social distancing separation of 6 feet and following the official guidance to not allow clusters of 10 or more people” All in-home consultations will be done virtually as of Wednesday. 

With fewer salespeople working per store, Best Buy said it will offer two week’s pay to employees who are not working. 

"Non-essential" retailers and malls have not been ordered to close, as Gov. Tim Walz did restaurants, movie theaters, and fitness centers. But the number of “non-essential” retailers suspending operations intensified over the last 48 hours: both Nordstrom and Macy’s are closing stores; Mall of America closed on Tuesday. A growing number of small retailers have suspended store operations as well.

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