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Supermarkets Offer Special Hours for Older Shoppers

Some retailers still provide at-risk customers options to limit coronavirus exposure

A shopper browses in the meat department at a supermarket in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, April 16, 2020

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Fewer grocery store chains across the U.S. are offering special shopping hours to older adults and those with underlying health conditions, who are among the most at risk of complications from COVID-19. These designated times help vulnerable shoppers enter stores when there are fewer customers.​​

Meanwhile, most major retailers are allowing people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to shop mask-free, in the wake of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Studies suggest that the chances of COVID-19 infection are very low in fully vaccinated people. Those in this status who do contract the virus are much less likely to have severe symptoms.

​​If you like to shop at a time designated for older adults, review the hours offered by the retailers below. Make sure to confirm with your grocery store that the senior hours are being enforced during the times listed. If you are aware of other supermarkets that continue to offer special hours, please alert us in the comments section below.​​


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Supermarkets with senior shopping hours​

Although many grocery stores across the U.S. ended special hours for older shoppers, some chains continue to offer the option for those over a certain age and for others who are more at risk from COVID-19.​​

BJ’s Wholesale: Most stores offer a designated hour for those 60 and older Monday to Saturday, from 8 to 9 a.m. First responders have a dedicated shopping hour on Sundays, from 8 to 9 a.m. Use the Club Locator to see if your location participates.​​​​

Dollar General: The first hour of operations is dedicated to senior customers. Although an exact age was not specified, the company said the period is for shoppers most vulnerable to COVID-19. Store hours vary.​

Food City: The first hour of operation, from 7 to 8 a.m., is designated for customers 65 and older and for those with underlying health conditions. Its pharmacies open at 7 a.m. on Mondays to allow vulnerable customers to pick up prescriptions with limited exposure to others.​​​​

Harris TeeterMondays and Thursdays, from 6 to 8 a.m., are reserved for shoppers age 60 and older. ExpressLane Online Shopping pickup times are reserved for older adults from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays. The pickup fee is waived, and seniors can opt for delivery for $5. The 5 percent senior club discount applies on Thursdays.​​

Lowe’s Food: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 7 to 8 a.m., are dedicated to older adults and those who are immunocompromised.​​

Price ChopperMost stores will open to seniors and the immunocompromised from 6 to 7 a.m. each day.​​​​

​​​​Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency’s Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the decrease in supermarkets offering special hours for older and at-risk shoppers.​