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In response to the coronavirus, Best Buy is going to permit only 10 to 15 customers from entering the company’s retail stores at a time. 

The new policy, which goes into effect on Monday, March 23, will prevent customers from casually entering the stores, browsing the various electronics on display, and touching them. Instead, customers allowed onto the premises will be escorted by an employee, while maintaining the recommended distance of 6 feet. From there, they’ll be allowed to find a specific item for purchase.  

However, customers can still freely swing by the store for the “curbside pickup” service to obtain items they’ve bought on BestBuy.com. They can also drop off a product that needs a repair. 

“Of course, customers can still order on BestBuy.com and have their products shipped directly to their homes,” the company added. 

The retailer decided on the policy, citing a surge in demand for electronics when people across the US have been forced to work and study at home due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, the increased foot traffic at Best Buy stores also poses a contamination risk to both customers and employees. 

“We are making the best decisions we can with two goals in mind: protecting employees, customers and their respective families, while trying our best to serve the millions of Americans who rely on us for increasingly vital technology that keeps them connected to their school and work, and for the appliances necessary to help them store and prepare food,” the company said in today’s announcement

Starting tomorrow on March 18, Best Buy stores will also close earlier at 6 pm, instead of the usual 9 pm on weekdays. “We will revisit on an ongoing basis the decision to remain open with shorter hours, but our intention is to operate this way through Sunday, March 22,” the company added. 

According to Vice, employees at Best Buy have been working at full capacity amid the coronavirus outbreak. However the same workers say the stores have been overcrowded beyond CDC guidelines, which are now urging the public to avoid gatherings of 10 people or more. “Best Buy will contribute to this spreading, and my store is located in a county with the highest reported cases in my state,” one unnamed employee told the publication. 

In today’s announcement, Best Buy says the upcoming changes will require fewer employees on premise. “We intend to give employees not working two weeks’ pay. We have also relaxed our absence policy and will not penalize employees for missing work,” the company added. 

If you want something installed from Best Buy, the company will continue to do so “wherever permitted and under strict safety guidelines.” However, all in-home consultations will be done virtually starting tomorrow.

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