Supermarkets Respond to Pandemic: Here Are Updated Schedules and Hours for Seniors

Many grocery stores are dedicating an hour of the morning to those who are the most vulnerable to coronavirus, including seniors

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Publix announced its stores would be dedicating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for customers aged 65 and over beginning on Tuesday, March 24.

Publix pharmacies will also open at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for seniors. "Publix is offering these expanded hours to better support our elder community," the company wrote in a statement.

Whole Foods

Since March 18th, all Whole Foods stores began opening one hour earlier exclusively for customers who are 60 and older.

That means that if the store is scheduled to open at 9 a.m., those who are over 60 can start shopping at 8 a.m., before it opens to the general public.

The company said that "we are setting aside this time to help these customers, who 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 stores will also close up to two hours early to allow staff time to restock shelves, clean the store and prepare for the following day. During those hours, stores will remain open only for pickup (if they offer it), and Prime delivery orders will be fulfilled "in an effort to meet unprecedented demand and ensure that people who need to remain at home can still get their groceries in a timely manner."

For updated store schedules, consult Whole Foods' website.


As of March 19th, Sedano's stores have been dedicating an hour from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. to shoppers aged 65 and over as well as those who are immunocompromised.

"We ask our customers to be patient, kind, and respect that this hour will be prioritized to serve these individuals," Sedano's said in a statement.

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's changed its store hours to 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. as of March 16th.

In a statement, the company also said its stores would increase routine cleaning, especially in "high touch" areas like restrooms, register areas, grocery carts and hand baskets.

Food and beverage sampling has also been stopped until further notice.

Fresh Market

Fresh Market stores have changed their schedule as of March 18th: seven days a week, all stores will open between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., and on weekdays the first hour of operations (until 9 a.m.) will be reserved for seniors and "other individuals most at risk, those with chronic health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes."

Additionally, all cafe eating areas have been closed.

In a statement, the company also said that "in states that have banned gatherings of no more than 50 people, we are monitoring the guest count in our stores to adhere to those guidelines."

Winn Dixie & Fresco y Más

Southeastern Grocers, which owns all Winn Dixie and Fresco Más stores, announced it would be making some schedule changes.

8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday will be a special shopping hour dedicated to seniors and high-risk customers in all stores.

There will also be a new closing hour of 8 p.m. every night for all stores, to allow staff time to restock shelves and "conduct additional sanitation procedures."


The CEO of Target announced that beginning March 18th, it would reserve the first hour of shopping each Wednesday to "support vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns."

Stores are also closing by 9 p.m. daily to allow staff to replenish and deeply clean the store.

Target has also implemented limitations on in-demand items and asked guests to "consider their immediate needs and purchase accordingly so more families can find the products they need."


Walmart stores have adjusted their operating hours to 7 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. (stores that open later than 7 a.m. will keep their regular starting hours) to allow staff to restock shelves and conduct cleaning.

Beginning on March 24 until April 28, stores will dedicate one hour before opening time to customers aged 60 and older every Tuesday.

That means that if the store is scheduled to open at 8 a.m., those who are over 60 can start shopping at 7 a.m., before it opens to the general public.

Walmart also said it would implement limits for customers in "certain categories including paper products, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, wipes, formula and baby food."

Walmart Auto Care Centers have temporarily shut down, while the store's Vision Centers will continue to operate for essential services only, like glasses repair or filling existing orders.

Dollar General

Since March 17th, Dollar General stores across the United States have been dedicating the first hour of operations each day to senior shoppers.

"In keeping with the Company’s mission of Serving Others, Dollar General wants to provide these at-risk customers with the ability to purchase the items they need and want at the beginning of each day to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods," the company announced.

"Other customers are encouraged to plan their shopping trips around this window of time to allow the most susceptible customers in our communities the ability to shop during the first hour that stores are open."

Dollar General also informed its stores would be closing one hour earlier than official close times to allow employees to clean and re-stock store shelves, as well as for their own health and well-being.

To find normal operating hours for your local Dollar General, consult their website.

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