ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Walmart continues to temporarily close stores for COVID cleaning across the United States this month. Two stores recently closed near St. Louis and others closed in Washington, Texas, Delaware, New Jersey, and Georgia.

Reuters reports that the company closed nearly 60 stores in COVID hotspots temporarily in December. This was before the virus surged to unprecedented levels in the United States.

The company-wide effort is to slow the spread of the virus. The company adopted the policy in 2020 to close stores for fewer than two days to get ahead of potential outbreaks.

There are over 4,700 Walmart locations across the United States. It is not clear what criteria the company is using to choose stores to clean. Walmart references COVID trends from the CDC in statements about store closures. But, 99 percent of locations in the United States are now in the red, meaning virus transmission is high.

The stores in St. Louis and in other locations have recently been closed for two days. A cleaning company spends the first day sanitizing the building. The second day is to help staff restock store shelves.

Unvaccinated employees are being asked to wear masks. The company will continue conducting associate health assessments.