Seniors only shopping hours during COVID-19 pandemic

Gregg Chamberlain
EAP
The big grocery stores are setting up seniors-only shopping schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several outlets in the Prescott-Russell region have launched early-morning shopping just for their senior customers to make sure those people get the groceries and other necessities they need until the pandemic situation ends. Seniors are one of the higher-risk groups of people more prone to infection during a pandemic and the focus of the early-morning hours plan is to protect the health and safety of older customers.

“We’ll devote the first hour of operations at many of our stores to those most vulnerable and those who require extra attention, particularly seniors,” stated Michael Medline, president of Sobeys, a major Canadian retail food company.

Sobeys, whose affiliates include Vankleek Hill’s Foodland, will launch its Senior Shopping Hour plan starting March 20, with one hour during the morning schedule dedicated just to seniors for shopping.

Other large food stores, like the Independent Grocer outlets in Rockland, Embrun, and Hawkesbury, and the FreshCo outlet in Hawkesbury have already set up their early-morning seniors-only shopping schedules. These schedules include having store staff on hand at the store entrance to make sure that people who are not seniors do not try to take advantage of the early-morning opening.

“I’ve told them that they have to wait,” said one FreshCo staff member, who declined identification, “and they’re okay with that. People have to understand.”