ORLANDO, Fla. – Many have been flocking to their local grocery stores to stock up on supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic, crowding stores and making it difficult for some of the people most vulnerable for COVID-19 to get the items they need.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults are at higher risk from becoming seriously ill from the novel coronavirus, as are those with underlying health conditions.
According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 and older.
The large crowds in grocery stores are something our seniors should be avoiding right now, to help the following stores are offering special hours for them to come get their shopping done and feel safe while doing it.
Publix has added senior shopping hours to all of its stores for adults 65 years or older on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. starting March 24. The pharmacy will also open early during this time to accommodate senior shoppers.
Dollar General is encouraging the first hour of store openings should be for senior customers amid the spread of the coronavirus and is asking other shoppers to plan their trips to their stores around that window of time.
All stores will also close an hour early each night so crews can clean and restock shelves.
Beginning Wednesday, Target is also reserving its first hour of business every Wednesday at stores across the country for vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
All stores will close at 9 p.m. to give employees more time to clean and restock.
The Fresh Market
Every weekday, The Fresh Market is inviting those most at risk in for an hour of safe shopping, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Other shoppers are asked to respect those hours to limit the number of guests inside the store at once, in an effort to comply with the CDC’s guidelines for mass gatherings.
The Fresh Market will close at 9 p.m. every day.
Customers 60 years old and older are invited to shop at Whole Foods stores one hour before doors open to the general public, according to the company’s adjusted hours during the pandemic.
For example, if your local Whole Foods says it’s open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., customers 60+ are allowed to enter at 8 a.m., the company’s website says.
Seniors and other high-risk customers are invited to shop at their local Winn-Dixie grocery store from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. every weekday. All stores will close at 9 p.m. until further notice, according to the company.
The company has also announced it plans to hire those who have been affected by restricted working hours and layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Starting March 23, Trader Joe’s will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily with senior shopping hours during the first hour of the day.
Seniors can shop from 9 to 10 a.m., the company announced.
From March 24 through April 28, Walmart is offering special hours every Tuesday for shoppers 60 and older. According to the company’s website, these shopping hours will start one hour before the store opens.
Walmart’s pharmacies and vision centers will also be open during those hours.
Beginning March 24, Costco is holding special shopping hours from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for customers 60 and older at all locations except its business centers, according to the company.
Costco officials said the pharmacy will be open during senior-only hours but the food court will operate according to normal schedule.
This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.