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Walmart Is Testing a New Cashierless Store in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The retail giant is looking to cut down on in-store interactions to prevent the spread.

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Even as the country loosens stay-at-home restrictions, life isn't going to simply resume as it was pre-pandemic. And as part of this new normal, companies are shifting operations to ensure a safer environment for employees and customers. In Walmart's case, that might mean nixing cashiers. 

The retail giant is testing a new store structure without clerks or checkout line conveyor belts, Fox Business reports. The company is hoping to cut down on human interaction to not only protect its staffers, but shoppers as well. A spokesperson for the company told the outlet that a Fayetteville, Arkansas-based location will replace the traditional cashier-manned lanes with self-checkout counters. Employees will still be available for onsite assistance. 

While the new design is currently being tested at a single store, Walmart is considering a nationwide rollout based on customer and employee feedback. This isn't, however, the only update it's introduced as of late. The company has added a touch-free payment method to its app, much like Apple Pay, allowing shoppers to add credit and gift cards to platform. 

Like most of its peers, Walmart has instituted a number of new health procedures over the last few months, including employee wellness checks, a face mask policy, and signage to promote social distancing. 

"As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, our leaders and operations teams will continue to listen to advice from medical experts, associates and customers, and consider how we can best serve people while helping slow the spread of the virus," the company said in a statement. "The health and safety of our associates and customers is what matters the most." 

h/t Engadget

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.