More stores offer special senior shopping hours

DOVER – With the senior citizen population most at risk during the coronavirus outbreak, grocery stores are making it easier for them to do their shopping without the crowds.

Due to people stocking up before self-isolation, along with the panic buyers, it has been difficult for senior citizens to get what they need.

Dollar General, which has around 50 stores in Delaware, announced last week that its stores would be open exclusively for one hour early in the morning – starting at 8 – just for senior citizen shoppers while the shelves are still full and the stores are void of other customers.

Since then, many other businesses have followed their lead.

Todd Vasos, CEO of Dollar General, said in a statement: “In keeping with our mission and our ongoing commitment to serve our communities, we are dedicating the first hour of each day to seniors.

“We appreciate our customers’ understanding of our decision and request they visit our stores later in the morning to allow at-risk populations the ability to purchase the items they need at affordable prices.”

Dollar General has three stores in the Dover area.

Meanwhile, Redner’s Warehouse Markets has also announced that shopping for its customers from 6 to 7:30 a.m. daily will be reserved exclusively for those who are at the highest risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19), including those age 60 and older, immune-compromised and pregnant women.

Redner’s has two grocery stores in Dover, one in Camden and another in Milford.

“While we will not be asking for any personal identification or proof, we will ask that other guests and communities respect this decision and be courteous to this request by allowing our most vulnerable to shop our stores when first opened, stocked and sanitized,” a press release from Ryan S. Redner, president and CEO, said.

In addition, guests should not bring reusable bags into the store until further notice because they could be carriers of the virus. Cashiers will issue single use, plastic bags.

“We are taking these steps in response to the overwhelming requests shared by our guests who are thinking of this vulnerable portion of our population and suggested this approach,” Mr. Redner said.

Other stores have taken steps and joined in making shopping easier and more efficient for senior citizens and other at-risk populations, including:

Acme: Stores will be reserved for people over 60 every weekday from 7 until 9 a.m. There are 15 Acme locations across Delaware.

Giant: Effective Friday, most stores will adjust hours to be open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. The first hour of operations, 6 until 7 a.m., is reserved for senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, including pregnant women and caregivers shopping for the immunocompromised, so that they may shop and practice safe social distancing.

Safeway: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 until 9 a.m. is reserved for senior citizens and other at-risk populations, including pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. There are Safeways in Dover and Rehoboth Beach.

Target: The first hour of shopping each Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m., is reserved for vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

Walgreens: Seniors can shop exclusively from 8 until 9 a.m. on Tuesdays. Customers 55 years and older will get special discounts on Tuesdays

Walmart: Starting today, Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers 60 and older beginning an hour before stores open (6 to 7 a.m.). There are 10 Walmart locations in Delaware.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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