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Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop

Grocery Stores Roll Out Senior Shopping Hours So They Can Avoid Coronavirus Crowds

Jewel-Osco, Mariano's, Whole Foods and Target are setting aside special hours for seniors so they can shop before shelves are emptied.

Shelves at a Jewel Osco, 1340 S. Canal St., are empty amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Pascal Sabino / Block Club Chicago
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WEST LOOP — At least four Chicago area grocery chains are designating special hours for senior citizens so they can avoid large crowds and secure the supplies they need as coronavirus continues to spread.

Starting this week, Jewel-Osco, Mariano’s, Whole Foods and Target are rolling out shopping hours exclusively for people 60 years and older. Health officials have said the elderly population and people underlying medical conditions are more susceptible to COVID-19.

Over the last week, panicked shoppers rushed to stores, stocking up canned foods, baby formula and toilet paper in bulk, clearing store shelves and leaving food shortages in their wake.

Jewel-Osco’s new designated senior hours are from 7-9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Starting Friday, Mariano’s 44 stores will have senior-only shopping hours from 6-8 a.m. daily until further notice.

Whole Foods introduced a designated senior hour this week, too. The hour will start one hour before the store opens to the public. Store hours vary by locations.

At the West Loop Whole Foods, an employee said the senior hour will be from 7-8 a.m. daily.

Company officials said the move aims to ensure their most vulnerable customers “feel more comfortable shopping our stores,” ensuring “they are able to get the items they need in a less crowded environment.”

Whole Foods will also adjust store hours to give employees more time to restock shelves and sanitize the store to prepare for the following day. 

Earlier this week, Target announced it would also reserve the first hour of shopping on Wednesdays for seniors and those with underlying health conditions.

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