In context: Although the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted just about every industry in some way, larger grocery chains like Target and Walmart have weathered the storm better than others. After all, virus or no virus, everyone needs to buy food sooner or later.
Since these stores are still seeing plenty of foot traffic, many have taken steps to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Some of these steps include mandatory face mask policies for workers and customers, installing cash register barriers, and placing social distancing-oriented floor markers.
Those measures aren't good enough for Walmart, though. To reduce human contact and speed up checkout times, the nationwide grocery chain will be transitioning to a cashierless checkout system at one of its locations in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The Fayetteville store will require customers to handle purchases and payments themselves, but employees don't have to worry about being out of a job (for now). Self-checkout systems are notoriously unreliable, and Walmart will still need workers on hand to assist customers during the process.
If this experiment proves successful, the company may consider expanding it to other Walmart locations throughout the US.