Grocery Stores Offer ‘Elderly Hours’ to Protect Older Shoppers

As supermarkets frantically work to restock shelves and calm panicked shoppers, some stores are taking steps to protect older and vulnerable customers who may be at the greatest risk from the novel coronavirus.

The Australian grocery chain Woolworths is opening its stores an hour early for its elderly and disabled customers. It’s the largest supermarket chain in Australia, with 995 stores.

The special hours started Tuesday morning and run at least until Friday, Woolworths said. Customers must have a government-issued pensioners or senior card to enter the store.

As elderly people “miss out on vital items when they shop,” the Coles supermarket chain, also based in Australia, also started holding early-morning “community hours” on Wednesday.

And a shopping center in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, announced its Iceland Foods grocery store would begin special hours for older and disabled customers.


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