Albuquerque ‘big box’ stores adjust to new capacity limits

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With the governor’s new public health order now in effect, some of the most noticeable changes are at the big box stores. Before they could have hundreds of customers at a time, now, they’re capped at 75.

A quick trip to the store is clearly a thing of the past. At the stores, shoppers are waiting about 15 to 20 minutes just to get inside and that’s after the big rush over the weekend.

At the Costco near Central and Eubank, it took about 22 minutes to get inside the store. Once inside, KRQE News 13 counted about 60 people shopping.

The store was also offering to shop for people who needed 12 items or less to keep the number of customers down inside the store. People say they expected a wait but were surprised to see many people in line. “It’s kind of crazy but I guess there’s a reason for it,” said shopper Dolores Lopez.

Over at Wal-Mart on Eubank by I-40 they were letting in shoppers at both sides of the store. Employees used walkie-talkies to communicate the number of people going in and out.


The wait to get inside that store was just over 25 minutes. Shoppers there say even though it’s inconvenient to wait, they feel safer with fewer shoppers inside the store. “I think it’s fine anyway that we can keep safe and not get sick it’s fine,” said Cecilia Tapia.

You can still buy non-essential items like toys, sporting goods, jewelry, and clothes at these stores, something that frustrates businesses that sell similar goods but are forced to shut down. However, most of the shoppers were only picking up essential items like food and toiletries.

At two local Target stores, it took less than two minutes to get inside and the other had no wait at all. Employees are not included in the 75 person capacity limit.

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