Walmart India on Saturday said it will close all its stores and fulfilment centres on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm to comply with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to the nation to observe a 'Janta Curfew' by staying indoors during this time period.

Many companies have announced plans to keep their operations closed during these hours as per the government directive, even as a large number of daily wage workers have been deprived of their regular earnings due to the economics disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Stores will resume normal operations and re-open for our members at the regular hours on March 23," Walmart India said in a statement.

Walmart India said it plays a critical role at this time to ensure that people in the community get continuous supply of essential food and hygiene products.

It urged members of its wholesale cash-and-carry stores to make purchases online on our website.

Walmart India operates a membership-based B2B wholesale business, where re-sellers, offices, institutions, hotels, restaurants and caterers as well as the army and paramilitary buy essential food and non-food items.

Walmart India said it welcomes Prime Minister Modi's appeal for social distancing and will comply with the 'Janta Curfew' announced by the Prime Minister on March 22.

"In compliance, Walmart India will close all its stores and fulfilment centres during the curfew hours on March 22. In order to ensure minimal disruption in supplies of essential items to the community, Walmart India has added more capacity to service orders that are placed through its website and app for delivery on March 24 and after," it added.

“We have a critical role to play in the community at this point and we take that most seriously. Walmart India's priorities at this time are to ensure the safety of our associates and customers, and minimise any disruption in the provision of essential items to the members of our community,” a spokesperson for Walmart India said.

While the members of Best Price cash-and-carry stores will not be able to physically visit stores on Sunday, Walmart India has put in place a series of measures to ensure supply of essentials to consumers in the wake of COVID-19.

"Our members can continue to place orders on our website without physically visiting the store. Our customer service staff are also being trained to assist more members in making purchases online. We are also reaching out to our members through our sales teams to take orders which can be delivered to them. We believe these efforts will enhance the safety of our customers and also ensure that they continue to get access to essential items safely and conveniently,” the spokesperson said.

"We would also like to express our gratitude to all doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, delivery professionals, government employees, grocery retail staff and all those people in critical jobs that selflessly and relentlessly continue to serve our community in this difficult time," the spokesperson said.

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