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UPDATE: More stores cater to seniors during COVID-19 shopping spike

Many seniors are on fixed incomes and have trouble running errands in hectic shopping environments.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —

Publix is designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. to those aged 65 and over. This will start March 24 and go until further notice. Publix pharmacies are also opening during these hours exclusively for seniors.

There could be a new trend in the works to help seniors when it comes to shopping.

Dollar General says it will let seniors shop by themselves for the first hour each day. The company is "strongly encouraging" these changes to be put in place at each location. 

Older adults are at a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19. Many are on fixed incomes and have trouble making it to the store, or running other errands in hectic situations. 

Under the official poverty measure, 4.7 million adults ages 65 and older lived in poverty in 2017 (9.2%).

A safer way to shop at a discount store might be an appealing option to our older population.

We caught up with Donna Collier in Huntsville, as she finished her shopping at a local Dollar General store. Collier is a senior herself, and says she also shops for her sister, who is a senior and has health issues. Hearing about the changes excites her because she knows there's a need to fill. Collier adds, “Yeah, it’s very helpful. Especially with what all is going on. Seniors are hard to get out and get around as it is. So, if they can get out before all the, you know, mayhem happens-- then, it’s good!” 

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In a press release issued on Monday, Dollar General asked other shoppers to plan their shopping trips around the one-hour window for seniors. That way, all shoppers can get what they need safely and quickly. 

The Dollar General press release also reads: 

"Additionally, all stores plan to close one hour earlier than current close times to allow employees to clean and re-stock store shelves, as well as for their health and wellbeing.  Stores will continue to maintain current opening hours. Normal operating hours by individual store locations are available here."

There are also other stores going along with this trend to help senior shoppers. 

Piggly Wiggly will have the first hour of their stores being open every day for seniors to shop. This applies to those 60+.

SENIOR HOUR- EACH DAY at PIGGLY WIGGLY! (Albertville, Boaz, Guntersv... ille and Scottsboro, AL) Starting Wednesday, March 18th, we will be instituting a Senior Hour for customers 60 and over.The first hour our stores open will be designated for those groups most vulnerable to COVI-19.

Target is dedicating the first hour every Wednesday to vulnerable shoppers, which includes the elderly and those with underlying health issues. 

For Whole Foods, they will have the hour before regular business opens for senior citizen shopping. So if a store normally opens at 9 a.m., it will open at 8 a.m. for seniors.

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