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Lowe's To Limit Customers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Naomi Prioleau
Lowe's will remain open but it will limit the number of customers in at one time.

Home Improvement store Lowes says it will limit the number of customers who can enter a store at one time. That decision comes about a week after Governor Roy Cooper's stay-home order, and after many stores saw large crowds of shoppers.

Several days after the stay-home order was first issued, dozens of customers rolled into a Lowe's in south Greensboro just off Highway 85. They came out with lumber, gardening supplies, paper towels and other items on a weekday afternoon just after lunch. 
Three Lowe's employees have tested positive for the coronavirus in stores in Charlotte and Apex in recent weeks. Those stores are still open for business. 

"It's scary, because there's so much unknown but we're going to get through this," said customer Karen Brown.

Brown's fears didn't stop her from shopping at the Lowe's in Greensboro. She was one of many walking out of the store with gardening supplies, tile, lumber and other items.

Lowe's and other home improvement stores are considered "essential" and officals at the Mooresville headquarters say stores will remain open for business to all shoppers. In addition to limiting the amount of customers who can shop, they're also adhering to the six feet social distancing standard. There are also large plastic shields at every cashier checkout counter.

Tammie was one of the shoppers who also visited the south Greensboro store. She's remodeling her bathroom.

"I think in some ways people are overreacting," she said, not wanting to giver her last name. "I think the government has done a good job to make sure it doesn't take out people like it did in Italy or China but at some point life has to go back to normal."

It's not just customers who are worried. Employees are concerned as well. One reached out to WUNC before customer limits were put in place. She was worried that the store staying open creates health hazards for her and her colleagues. She did not want us to use her name, fearing retribution if she spoke out.

In a statement to WUNC, Lowe's officials said their priority is the health and well-being of their employees and customers. They've also indicated the company will temporarily increase hourly wages for workers. Lowe's says it will allocate $170 million toward a variety of initiatives, including new hires, offering emergency paid leave, and store signage. There will also be a $10 million donation toward essential protective products for medical professionals.

Naomi P. Brown joined WUNC in January 2017.
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