Grocery Stores Across US Reserve Shopping Hours For Senior Citizens During Coronavirus Outbreak

Tuesday, March 17th 2020, 12:26 pm
By: CBS News

Older Americans, who are at a higher risk of getting sick during the coronavirus pandemic have been advised by the CDC to both stock up on supplies and consider taking steps to avoid crowds. At some grocery stores, that may seem impossible, as scores of people flock to supermarkets to buy emergency food and supplies.

Some supermarket chains are making sure older and at-risk Americans can both get the food they need and avoid crowds, by reserving special hours for this group. 

Foodtown, a grocery store chain with about 30 locations in Texas, announced it would be shortening its hours, but also making special accommodations for senior citizens. 

"To help support the shopping needs of the elderly in our community, effective March 17, 2020, we will open our doors from 7 – 8 a.m. to allow those ages 65 and older to shop in a less crowded environment," the company announced on its website.

Another Texas-based chain, H.E.B., is using another method to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.  The company announced it "will provide a $3M gift to support Texas non-profits helping seniors, children and low-income families as we work together to slow the spread."

A larger regional chain, Stop & Shop, started to follow the "senior hour" trend. Starting Thursday, March 19th, the northeastern chain will open earlier in order to service only customers who are age 60 and over from 6:00a.m.-7:30a.m., the company announced on its website. 

National brand Dollar General also announced this week its stores would dedicate their first hour of operations to at-risk customers. 

Some local chains or individual store locations have also amended their hours to accommodate senior shoppers. At least one Trader Joe's in Monrovia, California designated 9:00 to 9:30 for customers over 65, according to CBS Los Angeles. Local California chain Northgate Market designated 7:30 to 8:00 for seniors.

Many other grocery store chains like Kroger and Publix announced amended hours in order to clean their stores more frequently. People who are in the "at risk" category can check with local retailers about special hours that will be less busy and therefore, less risky to shop. 

First published on March 17, 2020 / 12:13 PM

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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