Some local grocery stores offer special hours for seniors, other vulnerable people

VIDEO: Some local grocery stores offer special hours for seniors

SEATTLE — In response to the coronavirus epidemic, some local grocery stores are offering special hours for at-risk shoppers such as senior citizens, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems or people who have been advised to avoid leaving home.

Fred Meyer and QFC announced it would offer special hours for seniors and other high-risk customers. Beginning March 23, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. is reserved for these groups.

Safeway and Albertsons announced that it would reserve Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. for those shoppers.

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“We are asking for customers to honor the reserved hours and we thank the community in advance for their compassion and understanding toward their neighbors and for helping us maintain these temporary operation guidelines,” the company said.

Starting Wednesday, Whole Foods said its U.S. and Canada stores would provide service to customers who are 60 and older an hour before the store opens to the public. For your store’s hours, click here.

“We are setting aside this time to help these customers, whose national health authorities have identified as among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, feel more comfortable shopping our stores and helping to ensure they are able to get the items they need in a less crowded environment,” Whole Foods said in a news release.

Seattle’s Uwajimaya announced Tuesday it was adjusting to temporary store hours and will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Starting Wednesday, the store will be open at 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for senior shoppers only.

Target said it will reserve the first hour of shopping each Wednesday to support vulnerable shoppers, including the elderly. The company is also reducing hours and closing all stores by 9 p.m. The changes go into effect Wednesday and will last until further notice.

On Tuesday, Governor Jay Inslee made a personal plea to people aged 60 and over and those with underlying health risks, saying that they are at substantial risk, citing increased mortality rates.

“You need to self-isolate, starting right now,” he said. “This is not a legal statement by the governor, but it’s as strong as recommendation as I can possibly make.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.