Walmart Is Now Barring These Shoppers From Entering Stores


If you've tried shopping at Walmart recently, you might have noticed a few changes. Some shoppers may have arrived only to find their local store closed, as the retailer has had to temporarily shutter nearly 60 locations across the U.S. for extra cleaning amid the Omicron surge. And at various locations, the retailer has also implemented a new purchasing limit on at-home COVID tests for customers. Now, Walmart is barring shoppers looking for one particular product from buying it inside its stores. Read on to find out why you might not be permitted to enter the superstore.

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Walmart says shoppers looking to buy COVID pills can't do so inside the store.

Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authorization of two different antiviral COVID medications, Walmart has started selling these pills at stores across the nation. But the company has added a new notice about shoppers looking to buy this product, saying they can't enter the store to do so. Because the antiviral medications are only available and prescribed to those with COVID, according to a Dec. 29 press release from Walmart, the company is trying to prevent infected customers from entering stores.

"Pharmacies will not dispense in store," the retailer confirms on its website.

You have to use drive-thru or curbside services to get the medication.

According to Walmart, these COVID "treatments are [available for] pharmacy curbside pickup or drive-thru only." Healthcare providers must send your antiviral pill prescription to one of the company's pharmacies electronically. Once this has been done, you can go to Walmart and park at the Rx curbside pickup signs or enter the pharmacy's drive-thru. You'll then need to call to speak with a pharmacist about the medication, and then wait in your vehicle until the medication is brought to you.

"Once your prescription is ready, please bring your ID and insurance card (red, white, and blue card if over 65) if you have one to the curbside pick-up or pharmacy drive-thru," Walmart also advises.

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Only certain locations are selling COVID pills at this time.

Don't expect to get this medication filled at just any Walmart store, however. According to the company, the COVID pills are only available at select Walmart or Sam's Club locations right now, while supplies last. You can use Walmart's store locator to find the nearest location offering the authorized COVID-19 antiviral medication. The company says it has worked closely with federal and state officials to "select locations where states determine the treatment was needed most," but both Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies are committed to expanding treatment access nationwide when possible.

"We are committed to working with our state and federal partners to provide access to new treatment options like authorized COVID-19 antiviral medications, as they become available," Kevin Host, senior vice president of pharmacy for the company, said in a statement. "This medication offers customers the option to recover at home and helps reduce the burden on our hospitals and communities."

You'll also need a prescription to buy COVID pills from Walmart or Sam's Club.

According to Walmart, you cannot buy this product at any of its participating locations without a valid prescription. The FDA has authorized two separate COVID pills: Pfizer's Paxlovid medication and Merck's Molnupiravir medication. Paxlovid is only authorized for COVID-positive patients 12 years or older who weigh at least 88 pounds and are at high risk for severe COVID, per the FDA. The agency has only authorized Molnupiravir for positive-COVID adults 18 years or older who are at high risk for severe COVID and do not have access to alternative COVID treatment options authorized by the FDA.

"Eligible individuals can ask their provider to send their prescription electronically to a Walmart or Sam's Club pharmacy that has the medication in stock," the company says. "Walmart will continue to only dispense FDA-authorized antiviral treatments for eligible individuals."

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