The Walmart store in Sanford closed on Tuesday due to "sanitize and restock" the store with just three days left to the Christmas shopping season.

The store on Route 109 closed to customers at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and is scheduled to reopen at 6 a.m. Thursday morning, according to Walmart spokeswoman Ashley Nolan.

"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 our Sanford store as part of an ongoing company-initiated program," Nolan told Seacoast Current in a statement.

Nolan said the closure will give extra time for a third-party specialist to further sanitize the store and workers to restock shelves.

"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. "We will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission."

Nolan did not say if a COVID-19 outbreak associated with the store played a role in the closure. As of Monday there were 1,470 positive cases in York County, according to the Maine CDC COVID-19 dashboard.

As an enticement to their employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine Walmart is offering two hours of paid leave to get the jab at a location other than the store and up to three days paid leave, should they experience an adverse reaction. Employees are also being offered $150 to become fully vaccinated.

Maine CDC spokesman Robert Long told Seacoast Current the agency has not opened an outbreak investigation associated with store. A Lowe's store next to Walmart remained open.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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