Public/Global Health

Some grocery stores create ‘elderly hours’ to protect older shoppers during coronavirus

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Some grocery stores are creating “elderly hours” to allow older customers to get their shopping done during the coronavirus outbreak.

Grocery chains around the world, including Australia’s Woolworth, announced they would institute special early hours for older individuals starting Tuesday.

Woolworth said in an announcement that the “unprecedented demand in supermarkets” sparked the decision, adding that “many elderly and vulnerable people in the community” are “missing out on vital items they may need when they shop.”

Other stores including Iceland Foods are also holding special hours for older and disabled populations. The Coles supermarket chain, also based in Australia, will host “community hours” in the morning on Wednesday.

Chef José Andrés called on U.S. supermarket chains to also hold special shopping hours for older individuals, who are more susceptible to experience serious illness or death from the new coronavirus. 

Several grocery stores in the U.S. have encouraged online pickup and delivery services to prevent vulnerable populations from coming in contact with the virus in public. Some have also started closing early to allow employees enough time to restock shelves depleted by anxious shoppers.  


The government of Jersey City, New Jersey posted on Facebook Monday that it planned to discuss designating certain hours for only elderly residents, those with disabilities and pregnant residents, extending from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. starting Tuesday. Lorain, Ohio, Mayor Jack Bradley said some stores in the city will open early for senior residents to pick up essentials, local station Fox8 reported.

Grocery stores have flooded with customers in recent days as health officials encouraged people to practice social distancing and stay at home, leading to shortages in hand sanitizer and toilet paper among other products. 

President Trump discussed the situation with grocery, retail and food industry executives this weekend as their stores have experienced high demands as people stock up during the virus.

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump elderly grocery stores
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