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Walmart closes west El Paso Sam’s Club for disinfection due to Covid-19 spread concerns

Sam's Club
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A Sam's Club store and logo.

EL PASO, Texas -- A west El Paso Sam's Club store was abruptly closed Saturday due to apparent concerns about the the spread of Covid-19.

Walmart, which operates the Sam's Club store at 7970 N. Mesa Street, shut it down Saturday afternoon and the company said it would remain closed until Monday morning.

A spokeswoman for the retail giant told ABC-7 that the store was closed so that a professional cleaning firm could come in and sanitize the store.

In a statement, the spokeswoman cited the continuing "surge of coronavirus cases in El Paso," but didn't provide any further specifics as to the reasons for the closure of that particular store.

All other El Paso area Walmart stores appeared to remain in operation as usual on Saturday afternoon.

This was the second Walmart property to be temporarily closed in recent days for disinfecting.

Just over a week ago, customers of the Walmart store at 5631 Dyer Street in northeast El Paso noticed a similar shut down for two days.

At that time, officials said the closure was not prompted by any El Paso Department of Public Health action, but rather was a Walmart-initiated effort. That seemed to also be the case with Saturday's Sam's Club closure.

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and health officials have repeatedly said that retail stores are the top source of virus spread in the community.

Although County Judge Ricardo Samiengo has ordered a two-week shutdown of all non-essential businesses due to the virus crisis, retailers who sell groceries are exempted from that mandate.

The judge's order is being enforced by El Paso County Sheriff's deputies, who said Saturday they were "hopeful that the citizens of El Paso will understand the seriousness of this issue and voluntarily comply with the Judge’s order.  Otherwise enforcement action will be taken." 

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

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