Walmart announced a temporary closure of its McAlester location on Thursday.
A press release from Walmart states the site will be closed starting at 2 p.m. Thursday and reopen at 6 a.m. Saturday due in part to assisting health officials in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As an essential business and a member of the McAlester, OK community, we understand the role we play in providing our customers with food, medicine and other essential items, especially at this time," the press release states.
Walmart representatives notified city officials at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 9. This story posted at 12:24 p.m. Sept. 9 prior to the scheduled 2 p.m. closure.
According to Walmart management, the pharmacy will remain open with alternative pickup options while the store is closed.
The pharmacy can be reached by calling 918-423-8060 for assistance.
McAlester Walmart employees will be required to report to work at their scheduled times, according to management.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 449 active COVID-19 cases in Pittsburg County and three new deaths on Sept. 8 in its weekly update. Data shows 5,995 total cases, 5,461 assumed recoveries, and 85 deaths in Pittsburg County.
The 432 S. George Nigh Expy. closure will allow a third-party specialist to sanitize the store and give employees time to restock shelves.
"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 (CDC) and health experts," Walmart said in the press release. "Given the rise in positive cases through the Delta variant, we will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission."
After the site reopens Saturday, Walmart will continue offering COVID-19 vaccinations at no charge via walk-in or scheduled appointments online.
Walmart said when the store reopens Saturday, the store will continue conducting associate health assessments and requiring unvaccinated associates must still wear face coverings when working.
Accoridng to Walmart, associates who receive the vaccine are given a $150 bonus for doing so and up to three days paid leave, should they experience an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
"These protocols and convenient access to vaccinations are in addition to the extensive measures we’ve put in place during the pandemic to help protect our associates and customers. We will continue working closely with elected and local health officials, adjusting how we serve the community while also keeping the health and safety of our customers and associates in mind," Walmart said.