Last week, a now-viral tweet took social media by storm. In a four-part Twitter thread, 25-year-old Oregonian Rebecca Mehra recounted her run-in with an elderly couple who was too scared to enter a Safeway supermarket due to the coronavirus outbreak. Fearing for their safety, the woman asked Mehra to buy groceries for them.
“She told me she had been sitting in the car for nearly 45 min before I had arrived, waiting to ask the right person for help,” Mehra wrote.
While the coronavirus pandemic poses health risks for everyone, adults over the age of 65 are particularly vulnerable. And amid widespread panic buying and hoarding of goods, elderly shoppers and other susceptible groups have found themselves unable to get their hands on vital resources, such as groceries, medical supplies and other household items.
In direct response to this plight, a number of supermarkets across the U.S. are offering designated hours for the elderly, the disabled community and those who are pregnant.
The below list is in no way exhaustive, but it does feature some of the larger, more well-known food retailers—many of which provide online shopping with curbside pickup and delivery services to help limit shoppers' contact with one another.
The supermarket chain has set aside the weekday hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. for senior citizens—those 60 and above—pregnant women and the immunocompromised.
Albertsons will reserve every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. for senior citizens and other at-risk populations, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems.
All five California locations will open one hour earlier, from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., for the elderly and shoppers with weakened immune systems.
The first hour of business at all 15,000 U.S. stores will be dedicated solely for the shopping needs of senior customers.
The Texas grocer will open its doors from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. to allow those 65 and older to shop in a less crowded environment. Access to the store during that time will require a government-issued state ID.