As the impact of coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., experts have largely agreed that American seniors face the greatest potential health risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eight of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. so far have been adults 65 years old and older.
To help protect this population, essential retail stores, such as Walmart, Target and Whole Foods are adjusting their hours and setting aside so-called “senior hours” to help older adults shop more safely.
For instance, Walmart announced that from March 24 to April 28, its “senior hour” policy will go into effect. Every Tuesday, customers 60 years and older will have exclusive access to Walmart stores and pharmacies for an hour before official opening time. During the coronavirus pandemic, many Walmart stores’ operating hours are 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.)
Target is also taking similar action by reserving the first hour on Wednesdays for elderly shoppers as well as those with underlying health concerns. Operating hours generally vary from location to location, but beginning March 18, all Target stores will close at 9 p.m. local time, according to its corporate website.
At Whole Foods, people 60 or older can shop an hour before each store’s official opening time across the nation.
More stores, such as Stop & Shop, which has opened its stores from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. specifically for seniors, and Dollar General are taking precautions as well by strongly encouraging shoppers who are not at high risk to avoid visiting stores during times dedicated to the elderly.
Other supermarket chains such as Publix and all Albertsons Companies’ shops, which includes Acme, Jewel, Shaws, Safeway and more, are making similar adjustments and recommendations to support those with weakened immune systems during the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus-Panicked Shoppers Push Walmart to Hire 150,000 Workers
TJ Maxx, Macy’s + More Retailers Closing Amid the Coronavirus Crisis