Adult swim, but for brown bags: Grocers pivot to ‘senior hours’

Grocers are rolling out special hours to people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. Not everyone thinks they’re a good idea.


March 18, 2020

If the global lockdowns continue at their current pace, there’ll be only a few brick-and-mortar businesses left with their lights on.

Grocery stores are definitely one of them. We gotta eat, right?

Those pics of empty shelves and a sad, solitary can o’ Campbell’s cream of celery might alarm you. But the food supply in the US is still going strong

It’s the flow of customers that needs controlling. (Stop fighting over that last bag of bucatini, there’s plenty for everyone.)

The solution? Let’s see some ID

This week, grocers and other shops started rolling out special hours for seniors — one of the groups that’s most vulnerable to COVID-19.

The special hours apply at grocers across the land, from the dealmeisters at Dollar General to the upscale aisles of Whole Foods.

Not everyone is convinced it’s a good idea. 

H-E-B, a chain with 300+ stores in Texas, said last week that it was “not the best and safest option” for customers. Some experts are torn, too — what’s the point of social distancing if the checkout line looks like a can of sardines?

H-E-B is on board, however, with rolling back store hours to restock — and limiting how many frozen pizzas people can pile into their carts per trip (4, if you’re wondering).

If you’d rather make it a virtual supermarket sweep…

…it might be a while. In the UK, one grocery chain is hiring 3.5k people to expand its delivery service as demand surges. One Brooklynite told Bloomberg he placed a Wegmans order on Tuesday, but the goods weren’t scheduled to arrive ‘til Saturday.

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