Grocery Stores Implement Special Hours for Elderly Shoppers as Coronavirus Chaos Erupts
President Donald Trump has recently urged the elderly to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak, as they are the most vulnerable to the illness.
While most people are practicing social distancing to lessen that risk, it doesn’t change the fact there there is a constant need for groceries.
Select stores around the country, including Dollar General and the Northeastern chain Stop & Shop, are dedicating their first hour of business to senior citizens.
Beginning Tuesday, March 17, our first hour of operations will be dedicated to our senior shoppers. All stores will also close an hour earlier in order for employees to clean and restock shelves. Learn more about these change here: https://t.co/53rc2gMeVr
— Dollar General (@DollarGeneral) March 17, 2020
“Dollar General is strongly encouraging that the first hour of operations each day be dedicated solely for the shopping needs of senior customers, who are one of the groups most vulnerable to the COVID-19 coronavirus,” the company said in a statement on Monday.
“General wants to provide these at-risk customers with the ability to purchase the items they need and want at the beginning of each day to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods.”
That same day, Stop & Shop released a statement offering similar perks and hours for senior citizens.
“We’re making the decision to offer this every day of the week to allow for community members in this age category to shop in a less crowded environment, which better enables social distancing. They’ll also be shopping prior to any other customers entering,” Stop & Shop president Gordon Reid said.
“Although we will not be requesting ID for entry, we ask that you please respect the purpose of the early opening — and do the right thing for your neighbors,” Reid added.
More than ever, it’s important we come together as a community to serve those in need, including advocating for our seniors. Beginning 3/19, all Stop & Shop stores will open earlier from 6:00AM-7:30AM daily to serve customers who are age 60 and over only. https://t.co/qmZhPUnlpJ
— Stop & Shop (@StopandShop) March 16, 2020
Smaller grocers around the country are beginning to follow in the steps of Dollar General and Stop & Shop.
The Northgate Gonzalez Market chain in Southern California announced on Tuesday that it will also be designating hours specifically for the elderly at all 41 locations.
“We recognize the challenge facing seniors and other at-risk populations and we need to address them by providing them an opportunity to shop for essentials without fear or trepidation,” Northgate co-president Miguel Gonzalez said, according to the Times of San Diego.
The stores will be open to seniors from 7 to 8 a.m., and the general public will be able to shop from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“Our customers and store associates’ safety are our number one concern” he said. “This is just one solution we are looking at to help Southern California residents sustain their health and nourishment needs.”
According to KNXV-TV, the AJ’s Fine Foods chain in Arizona also announced that it, along with two other grocers in the area, Food City and Bashas’, would be opening its stores at 5 a.m. for people 65 and older to shop during the first hour of business on Wednesdays.
For the seniors who are still in need of groceries but don’t have the luxury of getting to the store or have stores that offer these special hours, many are relying on their neighbors to help them out during this threatening time for them.
One North Carolina woman has recently been making grocery trips for her elderly neighbors.
“The idea actually came about when I called my grandfather the other day,” Becky Hoeffler told WNCN. “He told me, ‘I’m on my way to the grocery store’ and I was just kind of concerned because he’s 91 and I thought, ‘Is there a reason you have to go to the grocery store?'”
Hoeffler said that she works from home and is able to run to the grocery store during her lunch breaks for her elderly neighbors.
“Am I excited that I’m probably going to get a sweet loaf of banana bread from my neighbor, Patti, because of this? Yes,” Hoeffler said. “Either way though, I think being able to help people and being able to help your neighbor is one of the most American things that you can do.”
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