As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, grocery stores are among the few crowded places left open in the North Okanagan.
To help those most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus get their shopping done safely, a number of stores have reserved their first hour of operation to seniors.
On March 17, Sobeys announced its franchises would begin holding seniors shopping hours to provide those most vulnerable with a “calm, relaxed environment to complete their grocery shopping,” said president and CEO Michael Medline.
Taking inspiration from #Bloved at Sobeys Belmont, we are scaling our "Senior Shopping Hour". Starting this Friday, many of our stores will be devoting the first hour of operations to those most vulnerable and require extra attention, particularly seniors. pic.twitter.com/ckQyIexTS8
— Sobeys (@sobeys) March 17, 2020
The shopping hours place an emphasis on seniors, but they are also open to people with disabilities or compromised immune systems.
Medline said the shopping hours would be in place for the first hour of store operations which began March 20.
Enderby’s IGA got a jump on that timeline, holding its first seniors shopping hour March 18, 7-8 a.m. Assistant store manager Matt Briard said the shopping hour had a good turnout.
Save-On-Foods locations in Vernon followed the Sobeys initiative, holding seniors shopping hours from 7-8 a.m.
Safeway has offered its opening hour to help the most at-risk members of our community who must leave home to obtain groceries. Safeway named seniors, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems as examples of at-risk members.
The Safeway located in the Vernon Square Mall holds its special hours from 7-8 a.m. daily.
Shoppers Drug Mart started its senior shopping hours earlier this week, 8-9 a.m.
Buy-Low Foods also got in on the idea, as of March 18 instituting seniors only shopping hours.
For Vernon’s Buy-Low location on 25th Avenue, senior shopping hour runs from 8-9 a.m.
On March 19, Nature’s Fare Markets dedicated its first opening hour to seniors and people living with disabilities.
The Vernon location on 30th Avenue opens at 8 a.m., Monday to Saturday, and 9 a.m., Sundays. Seniors also still get a five per cent discount on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“We welcome all customers, but hope that for the first hour we are open, preference can be given to those who need a bit of special assistance,” the store said on social media March 18.
Vernon’s Butcher Boys Grocery Store hasn’t announced a seniors hour, but the store will continue its longstanding delivery service.
Groceries can be ordered online for delivery from 3:30-6 p.m.
Customers can email firstname.lastname@example.org to provide a shopping list, phone number and address.