A worker stands near an entrance to the Walmart in Sanford on Wednesday. “We are closed for sanitizing and restocking” the worker said as someone was getting out of a vehicle near the entrance. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Citing COVID-19 concerns, Walmart closed its Sanford store for part of Tuesday and all of Wednesday to sanitize it, the Portsmouth Herald and other news outlets reported.

A Walmart spokesperson said the Sanford store closed at 2 p.m. Tuesday, with plans to reopen to customers at 6 a.m. Thursday as part of an ongoing program to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Herald reported. Walmart didn’t close any other Maine stores in a similar manner, it said.

Walmart did not respond to multiple emailed requests for information from the Portland Press Herald on Wednesday. However, the newspaper confirmed the closure by visiting the store.

In a statement to the Portsmouth Herald, Walmart referenced an increase in COVID-19 cases around the country and said it closed the Sanford store “to assist heath officials working against the pandemic.” The company did not elaborate on its statement. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has not reported any viral outbreak at the Sanford store.

Walmart also closed a store in Heath, Ohio, for a day this week. In announcing that closure, the company also referenced an increase in COVID-19 cases nationally but did not say whether there had been an incident at the store that prompted it to be closed during the busiest shopping week of the year, just a few days before Christmas.

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