Several large grocery store chains that operate in Washington, including Whole Foods, Safeway and Albertsons, will reserve store 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 as the nation grapples with a deadly coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 50 people in the state.
Safeway and Albertsons are asking for customers to honor the reserved hours of 7-9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they want to thank the community in advance for their compassion and understanding toward their neighbors and for helping them maintain these temporary operation guidelines.
Whole Foods announced in a written statement that starting Wednesday, March 18, its stores in the U.S. and Canada would provide service to customers who are 60 and older one hour before the store opened to the public. (Check local store hours here.)
"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," the company's statement said.
All of the grocery store chains said their operating hours are being updated continuously on their websites so customers were urged to check local open times before going to the stores.