Some Grocery Stores Offering “Elderly Hours” During Health Crisis

Empty shelves and panic buying are making it even harder for the elderly to shop.

With the panic buying and shelter in place orders related to the Covid-19 outbreak, many grocery stores have been running out of supplies. How to handle all the extra time at home and the perceived scarcity of resources has been a matter of much debate lately. Some sources have been imploring people to stock up and stay in completely for the next few weeks so that the virus can be curbed more quickly. Other sources have been asking people to only buy in normal amounts so that everyone has a chance to buy popular items.

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In all the hubbub, many elderly folks have been scrambling to get even a small amount of food and supplies. To combat this many stores around the world have been offering early bird or elderly hours, giving the older customers a first crack at the goods.

The added benefit of this policy is that the most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus will be able to use carts and baskets that have not been handled all day by loads of people. Despite the fact that stores have been majorly stepping up their sanitation routines, there is still concern that shopping carts and buttons are potential carrier surfaces for the virus.

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According to CNN the Australian chain, Woolworth’s, has 995 stores and will be opening an hour early for elderly shoppers. Other stores, like some Iceland Foods stores in Ireland and various locationsfor Whole Foods, Safeway, and Target in the U.S.

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The shift is much needed as many overwhelmed grocery stores have been offering reduced store hours, another hinderance to shopping that the elderly and immunocompromised consumers during the global pandemic.