- Maria Halkias, Dallas Morning News

The decision is a response to a ‘renewed increase in positive COVID-19 cases,’ Walmart said.

Walmart said Thursday that its Neighborhood Market location near downtown Dallas at 2305 North Central Expressway will temporarily close at 2 p.m. to allow a third-party cleaning crew time to deep-clean and sanitize the building.

The Neighborhood Market will be closed through Friday. Shelves will be restocked, and the store will reopen on Saturday, Jan. 1, at 6 a.m.

The decision is a response to “a renewed increase in positive COVID-19 cases,” Walmart said in an emailed statement. “We want to assist health officials working against the pandemic.”

Dallas County’s public health committee on Wednesday raised the COVID-19 threat level to red, or “high risk of transmission,” after a spike in cases and hospitalizations due in part to the omicron variant.

Walmart and other retailers took similar steps, mostly in 2020, and this week Dallas-area restaurants have also chosen to temporarily close. Apple has also recently temporarily closed stores, including one earlier this month in Southlake.

“Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and the thousands of customers we serve daily, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and health experts,” Walmart said. “We will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission.”

When the store reopens Saturday, employee health assessments will resume and all unvaccinated employees must still wear face coverings, Walmart said.

Walmart is trying to accommodate employees who haven’t yet been vaccinated.

The retailer said employees can receive their vaccinations at their home store pharmacy, on or off the clock. It’s offering two hours of paid leave and up to three days of paid leave if the employee experiences an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

Walmart and most big employers are offering a cash incentive to vaccinated workers. Walmart is offering $150 to anyone who becomes fully vaccinated and hasn’t previously received the vaccination bonus pay.

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