Changes are on the way for The Home Depot shoppers. The essential items retailer says it's committed to keeping its doors open for customers that may urgently need essential supplies like hot water heaters, refrigerators, electrical and plumbing repairs, and harsh weather items like tarps, propane and batteries. However, the company says it must make changes to protect its customers and employees.

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The Home Depot announced Wednesday that all of its store locations will now close at 6 p.m. daily. Opening hours will remain unchanged. The adjusted hours give stores the ability to staff appropriately and provide additional time to perform cleaning and restock shelves.

To help promote social and physical distancing in stores and distribution centers, The Home Depot is limiting the number of customers inside at any given time. Major spring promotions are also being eliminated to avoid driving high levels of traffic to stores.

In addition to training associates on social distancing, there are now distancing markers at counters, posted signage throughout the stores and overhead announcements on store PA systems asking customers to maintain safe distances.

Employees are also receiving thermometers in stores and distribution centers and are required to perform health checks before reporting to work.

As for employee pay, there are changes coming there too. According to a statement from The Home Depot, all hourly full-time associates received an additional 80 hours of paid time off, and part-time hourly associates received an additional 40 hours of paid time off.

For associates who are 65 years of age or older or determined to be at higher risk by the CDC, The Home Depot added another 80 hours of paid time off for full-time associates and another 40 hours of paid time off for part-time associates. This incremental PTO can be used anytime, for any reason, between now and the end of the year, and will be paid out at year-end if not used.

If associates are diagnosed with COVID-19, The Home Depot is providing paid time off until they are released by a doctor to return to work. Meanwhile, they're providing 14 days of paid time off for any associate required to quarantine by a public health authority or the CDC.

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