Big-name retailers are stepping up to help elderly shoppers safely stock up on their essentials amid the coronavirus pandemic. This week, a handful of stores have begun opening earlier than usual for designated "seniors-only" hours that allow older customers to shop for groceries and other must-haves with ease while avoiding the crowds. According to the CDC, those aged 65 or older are known to be more vulnerable to COVID-19, in addition to those who are pregnant or anyone with an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or asthma.
So far, popular stores like Whole Foods and Target have adjusted their hours to benefit senior shoppers amid the outbreak, and we suspect even more will follow suit in the coming days. Read ahead for the lowdown on a few of the well-known retailers that are now opening earlier specifically for the elderly to shop with peace of mind.
- Target: Stores around the nation are now reserving the first hour of shopping each Wednesday for "vulnerable guests," including seniors and those with health concerns. All stores will also close at 9 p.m. so employees have ample time to clean and restock.
- Whole Foods: Customers who are 60 and older can now shop starting one hour before stores open to the public. Plus, stores will close up to two hours earlier than usual so team members can prepare for the next day. You can visit Whole Foods's store locator page to find out your local outpost's updated hours.
- Fresh Market: The grocer is offering reserved shopping hours for "seniors and those most at risk: from 8-9 a.m. from Monday through Friday.
- Stop & Shop: Starting March 19, shoppers who are 60 or older or have a "weakened immune system" can arrive early to shop in peace between 6 and 7:30 a.m. every day. Stores will also be closing at 8 p.m. to give employees time to stock the shelves for the next day.
- Dollar General: The store is now "strongly encourageing" that the first hour every day is dedicated to senior citizens, and stores will be closing one hour earlier than usual.
- Fareway Meat & Grocery: From 8 to 9 a.m. Monday through Saturday, shoppers 65 and older, expectant mothers, and anyone with "increased susceptibility to serious illness" is able to shop before stores open to the public.