Grocery stores designate shopping hour for those most vulnerable to COVID-19
'We think it's the right thing to do,' vice-president of operations for Loblaws Atlantic Canada says
Two of Canada's major grocery chains say they are moving to set aside shopping time at their stores that will be designated for those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Starting Wednesday, Loblaws operations such as Atlantic Superstore and No Frills will allow seniors and people with disabilities to shop an hour before the stores open to the general public.
"We're excited, we think it's the right thing to do," Mike Doucette, vice-president of operations for Loblaws in Atlantic Canada, told CBC News. "The customers are telling us they want it."
Doucette said the hours will take effect for any store that has the Loblaws banner.
He said corporate stores such as Atlantic Superstore will move opening hours for regular business to 8 a.m., which will allow those vulnerable to COVID-19 to shop from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
"We do have morning sanitization of our store and overnight sanitization," said Doucette. "It's at its best position, we've just stocked our shelves and it allows that group to shop in a more comfortable environment if they choose to."
He said the designated hour will be available Monday through Saturday. Sunday is excluded because store hours are too varied to co-ordinate a time.
Loblaws franchise stores such as No Frills and Shoppers Drug Mart will also have designated hours, but each individual store decides its own.
The Sobeys grocery chain is also taking a similar approach and launching a "seniors shopping hour" on Friday in many of its stores and family of brands.
"We'll devote the first hour of operations at many of our stores to those most vulnerable and those who require extra attention, particularly seniors," Sobeys posted to its Facebook page on Tuesday.