Update: Information in this story is now outdated, and the hours below reflected changes in early 2020.
The COVID-19 coronavirus disease pandemic presents special challenges for the commercial distribution of food, over-the-counter drugs, and other essentials to consumers, some of whom are at greater risk for contracting or dying from the disease. To complicate matters, widespread panic-buying after the pandemic was declared created initial shortages of such items as eggs, meat, toilet paper, paper towels, and cold and flu medication at retail stores.
In response, many stores have established special schedules to accommodate vulnerable populations. For example, Albertsons Companies Inc., which operates more than 2,200 grocery stores in the United States (including many under names other than “Albertsons”), has set aside “dedicated shopping hours for senior citizens and other at-risk populations, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems, who have been advised to avoid leaving home as much as possible.”
On March 18, Target stores began to reserve the first shopping hour each Wednesday “at stores nationwide for vulnerable guests — including elderly and those with underlying health concerns,” and Walmart stores announced “an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older.” The chain said the new schedule will start on March 24 with one hour set aside for vulnerable groups before the stores open for regular business hours. Other companies are following suit.
To serve as a guide for consumers, we’ve compiled this list of major retailers who have announced dedicated shopping hours for senior citizens, pregnant women, and other at-risk people:
LIST OF STORES (Updated April 21, 2020)
99 Cent Only Stores: 99 Cents Only Stores have dedicated 7-8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays (some regions open early daily) for people 65 or older, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and people with compromised immune systems.
Acme: Acme posted to Facebook: “We have also reserved special times for seniors and other vulnerable shoppers who must leave home to obtain their groceries, unless otherwise locally mandated. We ask that you avoid shopping Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 9 AM so that the stores can be available for them.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Albertsons: Albertsons Companies operates a number of large grocery stores under different names. In a statement, it said that “at a minimum, the company will reserve every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m.” as dedicated shopping hours have been set aside for seniors as well as “at-risk populations, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems.” These companies include Acme, Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Amigos United, Andronico’s Community Markets, Haggen, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Market Street, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, United Supermarkets, and Vons. However, it is recommended to call before heading out to shop, as policies may vary by location.
Albertsons Market: Albertsons Market announced the following on Facebook: “Beginning on Thursday, March 19, 2020, every Albertsons Market store will have a dedicated shopping time from store opening until 9 a.m. on Monday and Thursday for shoppers older than 60 and guests who have compromised immune systems. We are asking our neighbors to help us provide those most vulnerable groups access to essential products.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
ALDI: ALDI posted the following on Facebook: “On Tuesdays and Thursdays, ALDI stores will open at 8:30 a.m. and reserve the first hour of business for vulnerable shoppers. This includes senior citizens, expectant mothers and those with underlying health concerns.”
Amigos United: Amigos United announced on Facebook: “Beginning on Thursday, March 19, 2020, every Amigos store will have a dedicated shopping time from store opening until 9 a.m. on Monday and Thursday for shoppers older than 60 and guests who have compromised immune systems. We are asking our neighbors to help us provide those most vulnerable groups access to essential products.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Andronico’s Community Markets: Andronico’s Community Markets announced on Facebook: “To help ensure that the most at-risk members of our community who must leave home to obtain groceries are taken care of, we are reserving from store opening to 9 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays for them. During those times, we ask that you avoid shopping so that the stores can be available for senior citizens, and other at-risk members of our community such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Bashas’s Supermarkets: 5-6 a.m. on Wednesdays only has been reserved for senior citizens ages 65 and older, according to a statement on the company’s Facebook page.
Big Lots: In a statement, Big Lots announced that “all of our stores are reserving the first hour of each day for our senior citizens and those most vulnerable to this virus.”
BI-LO: The company tweeted: “Our stores and pharmacies will dedicate the hours of 8am to 9am, Monday – Friday, to seniors and those most at risk of COVID-19.”
BJ’s Wholesale Clubs: On the company’s Facebook page, they wrote: “We’re here to serve you in these challenging times and we’ll continue to do everything we can to protect our communities while providing the essential products you need. Beginning Sunday, March 22nd, our Clubs will have a designated shopping hour every day from 8:00am – 9:00am for our Members 60 and over. Clubs will open at 9:00am for the rest of our Members.”
City Market. On Facebook, the company posted: “Starting March 20: We are dedicating special shopping hours for seniors (60+) and other higher-risk customers, as defined by the CDC. Our associates will happily assist anyone who needs additional help while shopping. We encourage all customers to respect this special time as we work to protect our community. Thank you for shopping with us!” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Coles Supermarkets: Coles Supermarkets stated the following: “Community Hour is held from Monday to Friday from 7am to 8am in all Coles supermarkets, with access exclusively for elderly customers and others in need of assistance. To enter the store, customers simply need to present a government-issued identification card.” See the website for more details.
Community Markets: According to a company Facebook post, Community Markets is designating time before 8 a.m. as a “Priority Shopping Window” for “those at highest risk.
Copps. See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Costco: Costco announced that they will open their doors to members 60 years and older every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. beginning on March 24.
Country Grocer: Seniors and the “immune compromised” can shop daily from 7-8 a.m.
Cub Foods: On Facebook, the company posted a statement: “We welcome health care professionals, first responders, the elderly and high risk customers to shop from 6-7 a.m. to provide proper social distancing. We ask that all others wait to shop until after 7 a.m. to help keep everyone safe.”
Dillons: Dillons stores may be operating with special early hours for senior citizens, the at-risk, and pregnant women, though no information was posted to Facebook as of March 20. Contact your local store before shopping. This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Dollar General: In a statement, the company said: “On March 17, we began senior store hours, which are designed to allow some of our most vulnerable neighbors the ability to shop during the first hour that our stores are open to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods. For customers who can wait an hour, we strongly encourage you to plan your shopping accordingly to help support our at-risk customers.”
Dollar Tree: Special early morning hours were not available on the company’s website or social media channels as of March 24.
Fairway Market: In a statement published on the company’s website, no mention of any special hours was included.
Fareway Meat & Grocery: In a video message, the company announced that 8-9 a.m. had been designed for those 65 and older “or with increasing susceptibility to serious illness and expecting mothers.” This is in effect for Monday through Saturday.
Fry’s Food Stores: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Food 4 Less: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Food Lion: The company tweeted: “All our stores are welcoming customers who are 60+ y/o or who are immunocompromised every Mon. and Weds. from 7–8 a.m. to shop. We’re committed to serving our communities during this unprecedented time and ask that everyone please respect these designated shopping windows.”
FoodMaxx: FoodMaxx posted to Facebook: “We are opening at 6am to 9am to serve seniors and those with compromised health – normal operating hours to resume at 9am.”
Foods Co: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Food Town (Houston, Texas): In a statement, the company said “we will open our doors from 7:00 am – 8:00 am to allow those 65 and older to shop.”
Foodtown (NJ, NY, PA): No senior-only hours listed at this time.
Fred Meyer: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Fresco y Mas: The company posted on Facebook: “Our stores and pharmacies will dedicate the hours of 8am to 9am, Monday – Friday, to seniors and those most at risk of COVID-19.”
The Fresh Market: The company posted on Facebook that they “are designating special shopping hours for seniors and other individuals most at risk” and that the hours will be 8-9 a.m. for Monday through Friday.
Gelson’s: The company will be opening from 7-8 a.m. every day “for customers 65+.”
Gerbes: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Giant Food: The company posted on its website: “Every store in our operating areas will reserve 6:00-7:00 a.m., every day of the week for this vulnerable population to shop and practice social distancing.”
Haggen: See “Albertsons.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Hannaford Supermarkets: The company posted on its Facebook page: “Beginning 3/24, Tuesday through Thursday mornings from 6-7 a.m. will be reserved exclusively for customers 60+ and individuals identified by the CDC as being high-risk.
Harris Teeter: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Harveys Supermarket: The company posted on Facebook: “Our stores and pharmacies will dedicate the hours of 8am to 9am, Monday – Friday, to seniors and those most at risk of COVID-19.”
H-E-B: The company said on Facebook that it will be trying a new program to help seniors: “As we continue to find ways to support Texans and our most vulnerable populations, H-E-B and Favor Delivery are piloting today our Senior Support Line, a new delivery program designed to offer a safer solution for seniors (60+) across Texas. Starting 3/20, seniors can place orders from curated list of essentials via a phone line, the Favor app, or at favordelivery.com/seniors. The line will be staffed with volunteers to accept/process home delivery orders via phone daily 9a-1p. To access, call 1-833-397-0080. All fees will be waived for the first 30 days, with a $10 tip included in the order for the Favor Runner.”
Hy-Vee: Hy-Vee posted to Facebook: “All Hy-Vee stores will reserve one hour of shopping time each day for customers at higher risk for illness. Customers age 60 or older, expectant mothers and anyone with an underlying health condition that makes them more vulnerable to illness can shop from 7 to 8 a.m., seven days a week, at any Hy-Vee store. All other customers – please visit us during our new store hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.”
Jay-C Food Stores: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Jewel-Osco: See “Albertsons.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
King Soopers: The company posted on its website: “Exclusive Shopping for Seniors 60 & Older: 7am – 8am, Monday, Wednesday, Friday).” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Kings Food Markets: Kings Food Markets is “reserving the first hour of shopping for our elderly and high-risk guests.” See local store hours.
Kroger announced it would be adjusting its hours to “give senior citizens, expectant mothers and first responders the opportunity to shop without the rush.” The Kroger Co. operates not just Kroger, but a number of other big name grocery stores, and has 2,757 stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia. The Kroger Co. operates City Market, Copps, Dillons, Fry’s Food Stores, Food 4 Less, Foods Co, Fred Meyer, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Jay-C Food Stores, King Soopers, Mariano’s, Metro Market, Owen’s Market, Pay-Less Super Markets, Pick ‘N Save, QFC, Ralphs, Ruler Foods, and Smith’s Food and Drug. Contact local stores to ask about early hours before heading out to shop.
Loblaws: Loblaws announced: “To make sure our stores are well stocked and sanitized, and to give our colleagues a well-deserved break, we’re adjusting our hours to 8 am to 8 pm. We will continue to offer the dedicated shopping hour for seniors and those needing more assistance from 7 am to 8 am. Thank you for your understanding.”
Lucky: See “Albertsons.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Mariano’s: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Market 32: See “Price Chopper Supermarkets.”
Market Basket: The company announced on Facebook that it would “initiate senior shopping hours specifically geared to accommodate the needs of our customers 60 and older.” The days and times are each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30-7:00 a.m., when “the stores will be open ONLY to serve customers 60 and older.”
Market Street: See “Albertsons.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Meijer: On the company’s website, it said: “Meijer stores and pharmacies will provide dedicated shopping times for senior citizens and customers with chronic health conditions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8 a.m. local time.”
Metro Market: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Mother’s: The company said in a statement that a “Safe Shop” hour will be held every Wednesday for one hour beginning at 6:00 a.m., “to accommodate only people who fall into high-risk populations – elderly, disabled, those with compromised immune systems, chemo patients, etc.”
Northgate Market: “For our senior citizen (65+) and disabled customers,” the “special operating hours” are listed as 7-8 a.m. daily.
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet: The company posted on its website that “designated senior hours and those with compromised immune systems” can shop Monday – Saturday from 9-10 a.m. and on Sunday from 10-11 a.m.
Owen’s Market: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Pavilions: See “Albertsons.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Pay-Less Super Markets: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
PCC Community Markets: On Facebook, the company announced: “In order to remain available to the most vulnerable members of our community, we are reserving the first hour of business at each PCC store for those who are age 60 or older, pregnant or otherwise at high risk of infection. If you do not fall into any of these categories, we invite you to shop with us starting at 8 a.m. each day. Thank you for your cooperation as we continue to make our stores safe and accessible.”
Pick ‘N Save: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Price Chopper Supermarkets: The company posted the following statement on Facebook: “ALL stores will pre-open exclusively to seniors from 6-7 a.m. each and every day, beginning on Thursday, March 19.”
Publix is offering special hours for customers age 65 and over only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7-8 a.m.
QFC: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Quality Foods: The company said in a statement: “Out of consideration for our customers who are older or may have compromised immune systems, we kindly ask our customers to consider shopping after 8:00 AM, to allow these dear folks to shop first between the hours of 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM. We know that everyone has different circumstances, so we are simply making a neighborly request.”
Ralphs: Ralphs introduced hours for senior citizens, saying in a statement by email: “7 days a week, we’re reserving the first half-hour of shopping time, from 7-7:30am, for customers ages 65 and up. Our stores will still be open to customers of all ages from 7:30am-8pm. We appreciate your patience as we try this new program, and as always, thank you for shopping with us.” Ralphs is owned by The Kroger Co.
Randalls: Randalls announced their plan on Facebook, saying: “We have also reserved special times for seniors and other vulnerable shoppers who must leave home to obtain their groceries, unless otherwise locally mandated. We ask that you avoid shopping on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 AM to 9 AM so that the stores can be available for them.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Real Canadian Superstore: On Facebook, the company said: “We will continue to offer the dedicated shopping hour for seniors and those needing more assistance from 7am to 8am on Tuesdays and Fridays.” Call for specific store hours before shopping.
Roses Discount Stores: In a Facebook post, the company stated: “We’re dedicating the first hour we’re open each day to the shopping needs of our seniors and at-risk customers.”
Rouses Supermarkets: Rouses announced modified hours, but no special early morning hours.
Ruler Foods: See “Kroger.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co. Look to the company’s Facebook page for any future updates.
Safeway: Safeway announced their plan on Facebook, saying: “We have also reserved special times for seniors and other vulnerable shoppers who must leave home to obtain their groceries, unless otherwise locally mandated. We ask that you avoid shopping on Tuesdays and Thursdays from open time to 9 AM so that the stores can be available for them.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Sam’s Club: On March 24, the company posted: “Starting this Thursday, March 26, Sam’s Club locations nationwide will offer early shopping hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. for seniors and those with disabilities or compromised immune systems. This includes our pharmacy and optical centers and will last until further notice.”
Sav-Mart: Sav-Mart did not post special early morning hours to Facebook, but did say: “We are currently working on a plan to be able to bring parts or items to your car if you are over 60 or have health issues that put you at risk. We will give you details as soon as management puts this into action.”
Save-On-Foods: The company posted its statement to Facebook: “All stores will open from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for seniors, people with disabilities and those most vulnerable to shop in a less hectic environment and allow for social distancing, as recommended by health officials. Save-On-Foods is also encouraging those customers who can shop in-store to do so and leave the online shopping services available to those who are not able to get to the store, including seniors, people with disabilities and those who are ill or self-isolating during these unprecedented times.”
Schnucks: The company reserved “the first shopping hour of the day, from 6 AM to 7 AM, for senior customers (age 60+) and for those who, due to underlying health conditions, are most at risk for COVID-19.”
Sedano’s: The company reserved 7-8 a.m. “every morning for our seniors and others who are at higher risk.”
Shaw’s: Shaw’s announced their plan on Facebook, saying: “We have also reserved special times for seniors and other vulnerable shoppers who must leave home to obtain their groceries, unless otherwise locally mandated. We ask that you avoid shopping on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 AM to 9 AM so that the stores can be available for them.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Shoppers Drug Mart: In a statement on Facebook, the company said: “Shoppers Drug Mart is dedicating the first opening hour of shopping at our stores to our customers who need assistance or consideration, including seniors and people living with disabilities. We encourage you to check with your local store to confirm operating hours. Shoppers Drug Mart will also offer the 20% Seniors Day discount on regular priced items for the first hour each day every day. This is in addition to Seniors Days each Thursday.”
ShopRite: ShopRite has not announced any special early morning hours, as of March 23.
Smart & Final: The company posted to Facebook: “Effective March 18, we are opening 30 minutes early, from 7:30-8AM, to accomodate shoppers aged 65 years or older and customers with disabilities.”
Smith’s Food and Drug Stores began testing hours for seniors, and made it a policy, saying on Facebook: “Starting Wednesday, March 18, Smith’s Food & Drug Stores will dedicate the first hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:00 am to 8:00 am, solely to the shopping needs of senior citizens until further notice. This group is the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Each store will have staff on hand to help those that need special accommodations.” This store is owned by The Kroger Co.
Sobeys: The company announced: “We introduced Senior Shopping Hour for the first hour of the day at our stores, providing the most
vulnerable among us with a dedicated time to shop for goods.” Check with local stores for specific timing. Call on the phone.
Sprouts Farmers Market: The company announced: “We are open from 7am-10pm daily. Some customers have asked about special shopping hours for elderly guests. We’re dedicated to serving our customers during this unprecedented time and have given a great deal of consideration to this matter. Special shopping hours can result in long entry lines and crowding, which conflicts with social distancing recommendations for the elderly and at-risk groups. To best serve everyone in our communities, we’ve invested in more staffing to maintain our focus on customer service and to provide a clean and safe shopping environment. We’re also implementing new checkout measures that encourage customers to maintain a healthy distance from one another, and also installing plexiglass barriers to reduce contact with team members.”
Star Market: See “Albertsons.”
Stater Bros. Markets: The company posted a statement to Facebook: “All 169 Stater Bros. Market locations will open at 7:45 a.m. for senior shopping (65+).”
Stop & Shop: The company said in a statement that beginning March 19 it will open earlier every day “to serve customers who are age 60 and over only.” The special hours were listed as 6-7:30 a.m.
SuperValu: This company has not updated its Facebook page since 2013, and as of March 21 no notices about special early morning hours appear on its website.
Target: Each Wednesday, the first shopping hour will be available only for “vulnerable guests – including elderly and those with underlying health concerns.”
Tom Thumb: See “Albertsons.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Trader Joe’s: While some locations may be offering special early morning hours, as of March 21 the only announcement that was available was about a change in store hours.
Trucchi’s Supermarkets: Trucchi’s Supermarkets posted to Facebook: “Senior hours of 6 am to 7 am will remain intact Tuesday thru Saturday.”
United Supermarkets: See “Albertsons.” This store is owned by Albertsons Companies.
Vallarta Supermarkets: In a Facebook post, the company announced “all Vallarta Supermarket locations will be open from 7-8am for those 65+ years old, pregnant women, and those with disabilities.”
Vons: On Facebook, Vons wrote: “Senior Hours and At-Risk shopping hours have been adjusted to 6AM-7AM DAILY. Thank you for understanding.”
Walgreens: Walgreens is doing several things. They’re offering free shipping for seniors, expanded drive-thru services for seniors, and a seniors-only hour in-store from 8-9 a.m. every Tuesday. The company also included this information: “Senior hours are available to senior citizen customers and patients age 55 and over every Tuesday starting March 24, 2020 from 8:00 am to 9:00 am, for a limited time period until further notice by Walgreens. Pharmacy hours may vary by location.”
Walmart: Walmart announced “an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older.” The chain said the new schedule will start on March 24 with one hour set aside for vulnerable groups before the stores open for regular business hours. The rumor about a “staggered shopping schedule” with different ages allowed to shop each day is false.
Weis Markets: Weis Markets posted about a change in store hours, but it does not appear that any special early morning hours have been announced. However, contact your local store by phone to find out for sure.
Whole Foods Market began special hours for seniors on Wednesday, March 18. “All Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and Canada will service customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the general public, under the new adjusted hours posted on the store’s web page.” Individual stores may or may not extend this to at-risk customers, as well as pregnant women. Call to confirm.
Winco: Winco announced the following on its website: “Effective the week of March 21st, 2020, WinCo will offer a temporary special shopping hour for Seniors (60+), Vulnerable Populations and WinCo Employee Owners from 6AM to 7:30AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please observe social distancing guidelines.”
Winn-Dixie: The company posted on Facebook: “Our stores and pharmacies will dedicate the hours of 8am to 9am, Monday – Friday, to seniors and those most at risk of COVID-19.”
Woolworths: Woolworths tweeted: “We’re launching a dedicated shopping hour in our stores to help support the needs of the elderly & people with disability in the community. From tomorrow until at least friday, we’ll be opening exclusively for them to shop from 7-8am, where permitted.”
Additionally, various grocery stores in Jersey City set aside 9-11 a.m. for “elderly, disabled and pregnant shoppers every morning,” according to Bergen Record.
Jersey City grocery stores to set hours just for senior, disabled and pregnant shoppers https://t.co/32G1OlJKgA
— NorthJersey.com (@northjersey) March 16, 2020
In the United Kingdom, ITV News published a video describing similar efforts being made for “vulnerable shoppers”:
Did we miss your store or make a mistake? Let us know!
At the time this article was published, no additional information was available on when these hours may end, and some of the details above may be outdated. Contact your local stores to confirm special hours.
Special recognition and credit for this story goes to the employees of the stores, USA Today, and all other journalists organizing this information in real-time during the coronavirus outbreak.