ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) – The Walmart store in Ashland will temporarily close this afternoon to undergo sanitizing and restocking.

Officials with Walmart’s Corporate Affairs team say the closure of the store at 351 River Hill Drive is part of a company-initiated program to allow time for third-party specialists to sanitize stores due to increased positive COVID-19 cases across the country.

The store will close this afternoon at 2 p.m. and reopen at 6 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 12. Walmart officials say this closure will also give employees more time to make sure the store is fully restocked.

“As an essential business and a member of the Ashland community, we understand the role we play in providing our customers with food, medicine and other essential items, especially at this time,” said Ashley Nolan with Walmart’s Corporate Affairs team.

After the store reopens on Sunday, Walmart officials say they will still continue associate health assessments and all unvaccinated associates will still be required to wear masks. The company is also encouraging its customers to follow CDC guidance in their stores including guidance asking that even people who are fully vaccinated wear masks in public, indoor settings in counties where transmission of COVID-19 is considered substantial or high.

“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,” Nolan said.

Walmart stores are also offering COVID-19 vaccines to customers through walk-in or online appointments, and for their associates on or off the clock.