Big-name retailers are stepping up to help elderly shoppers safely stock up on their essentials amid the coronavirus pandemic. The past few weeks, many 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, Costco, Aldi, and Walmart have adjusted their hours to benefit senior shoppers amid the outbreak, and we suspect even more will continue to follow suit. 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.
- Sam's Club: Staring March 26, locations nationwide will allow only "seniors and those with disabilities or compromised immune systems" to shop every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m.
- Walmart: Every Tuesday, anyone 60 or older is able to shop during the one-hour time slot before stores open, starting at 6 a.m.
- Trader Joe's: Though the grocery chain won't technically be opening earlier than usual for seniors, it is offering extra support by allowing them to arrive through a separate entrance between 9 and 10 a.m. every day.
- 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.
- Aldi: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., senior citizens, expectant mothers, and "those with health concerns" are welcome to exclusively shop.
- 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.
- Costco: The wholesale retailer is reserving every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 to 9 a.m. solely for shoppers 60 and older.
- Stop & Shop: 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 are also closing at 8 p.m. to give employees time to stock the shelves for the next day.
- Walgreens: Walgreens stores are reserving the 8 to 9 a.m. time slot every Tuesday for seniors, their caregivers, or immediate family members.
- Publix: The store is designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 to 8 a.m. to customers who are 65 and older. The earlier store hours on those days also apply to in-store pharmacies.
- Dollar General: The store is now "strongly encouraging" that the first hour every day is dedicated to senior citizens, and stores will be closing one hour earlier than usual.
- Kroger: Select Kroger stores across the nation are offering exclusive shopping hours on various weekdays for seniors age 60 and above. Visit Kroger's website for the list of participating locations.
- 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" are able to shop before stores open to the public.