Walmart officials announced Thursday that they are temporarily closing a pair of metro area stores — including one in Duluth — for deep cleaning due to the high amount of COVID-19 cases.

The company said the Duluth store — located at 2635 Pleasant Hill Road — will be closed today in addition to a store in Newnan. Walmart officials said they expect both locations to re-open Saturday at 6 a.m.

A press release from Walmart on Thursday read in part:

"As an essential business and a member of the Duluth and Newnan communities, we understand the role we play in providing our customers with food, medicine and other essential items, especially at this time.

"As you know, several areas across the country have begun seeing a renewed increase in positive COVID-19 cases, and we want to assist health officials working against the pandemic. In support of this effort, we have chosen to temporarily close both our Duluth, GA store location at 2635 Pleasant Hill Road and our Newnan, GA store location at 1025 Highway 34 E. (Thursday) at 2 p.m. as part of an ongoing company-initiated program.

"This will allow extra time for a third-party specialist to further sanitize the stores and will also give our associates additional time to restock shelves and prepare the store to once again serve the community. We plan to reopen the store to customers at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8."

Walmart officials said they will continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

"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," the company said in its press release. "Given the rise in positive cases, we will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission."

Walmart officials said they are offering associates two hours of paid leave to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Officials said they will give three days of paid leave for those who suffered adverse reactions getting the vaccine. Those employees who become fully vaccinated will get a $150 bonus, the company said.

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