Although stores are struggling to keep their shelves filled with groceries due to the high demand from customers, which are are stock piling due to the coronavirus pandemic, many supermarket chains are offering seniors ages 60 and older a dedicated shopping hour once a week where they can go to pick up groceries while limiting their exposure to those who may be carrying the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) those who are aged 60 or older, or those with pre-exisiting medical conditions are at a higher risk for contracting the virus.
Last week, Stop & Shop adjusted their hours to allow vulnerable customers a time to pick up supplies. The store is open daily from 6 to 7:30 a.m. during this time, recognizing that some may not be able to get out on a scheduled day to purchase food.
“We hope you will join us in our efforts to care for the older members of our community and those who are most vulnerable at this time,” a statement from Stop & Stop reads.
Walmart will be introducing their hour long senior shopping begining on Tuesday, March 24 through April 28 across their 5,000 U.S. stores. The senior shopping store hours will take place from 6 to 7:30 a.m. Vision centers and pharmacies inside Walmart will also be open during this time. Target’s 1,800 stores nationwide will also reserve their first hour of shopping each Wednesday.
Whole Foods will also offer special shopping hours one hour before the stores open up to the general pubic. At the time of publication, the store is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We are setting aside this time to help these customers, who national health authorities have identified as among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, feel more comfortable shopping our stores and helping to ensure they are able to get the items they need in a less crowded environment,” the company said in a statement.
In addition all supermarkets are closing early to devote extra time to proper clearning and sanitization procedures. Visit the supermarkets individual websites for the most up to date store hours.
On March 18, in response to the virus, The Town of North Hempstead also announced that the senior Project Independence food shopping transportation program is expanding its hours to meet the need of older residents who need to purchase food during this time.
“North Hempstead and our Department of Services for the Aging and Project Independence team understands how incredibly difficult these times can be, especially for our seniors,” Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in a press release. “We are proud to offer these extended hours to help our residents take advantage of when their grocery stores are less crowded.”
The new extended hours will be from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Project Independence members will be picked up individually. Residents are advised to make earlier appointments and take advantage of stores’ early special hours for seniors. Residents can call 311 or 516-869-6311, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to make an appointment.
Extended hours are subject to change. Visit the town’s website or www.northhempsteadny.gov/coronavirus for the latest updates.