Special Grocery Store Hours for Older Shoppers

Some grocery store chains across the U.S. are beginning to offer special shopping hours dedicated to older adults who are among the most vulnerable to severe complications from COVID-19. As the practice of social distancing becomes the norm, the special hours at supermarkets can further limit coronavirus exposure for older shoppers who choose to venture out, as well as for shoppers with underlying health conditions that put them more at risk of infection.

Current coronavirus guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House urges older adults to stay home, stay away from other people and avoid discretionary trips. Explore alternatives to shopping in stores, such as ordering groceries online for delivery or asking a friend or family member to do your shopping for you.

These retailers have announced special shopping hours. Confirm with your local grocery store that the senior hours are being enforced during the times listed. If you are aware of other retailers offering special hours, please alert us in the comments section below.

Acme Markets: From 7 to 9 a.m., Monday through Friday, stores are designated for seniors and others at higher risk for the coronavirus.

Albertsons/Safeway: At a minimum, the company will reserve every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m.” for seniors and other consumers at higher risk for the coronavirus, including pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. For its other brands, including Safeway, check with your local grocer,

Balducci’s: The first hour of shopping is reserved for senior and high-risk shoppers.

BJ’s Wholesale Club: Shoppers over 60 have a designated hour, from 8 to 9 a.m.

Cardenas: Shoppers must be 65 or older or first responders to shop between 7 and 8 a.m. For those in Northern California, the hours are 6 to 7 a.m.

Costco: Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 to 9 a.m., are designated for shoppers 60 and older.

Cub: Health care professionals, first responders, older adults and high-risk customers may shop from 6 to 7 a.m.

DeCicco and Sons: Customers who are 65 and older or immunocompromised can shop from 8 to 8:30 a.m. daily.

Dollar General: The first hour of operations is dedicated to “senior” customers. Although a specific age was not specified, the company said the period is for shoppers most vulnerable to COVID-19. Stores will also close an hour early to allow employees to clean and restock shelves. Store hours vary by location.

Fareway: From 8 to 9 a.m. only those 65 and older, those with susceptibility to illness and expecting mothers are permitted to shop.

Food City: The first hour of operation, from 7 to 8 a.m., is designated for customers 65 and older as well as those with underlying health conditions.

Foodtown: Those 65 and older can shop from 7 to 8 a.m., seven days a week. Access to the store will require a government-issued ID.

Fresh Market: For seniors and “other individuals most at risk,” the grocery chain is offering shopping hours between 8 and 9 a.m., Monday through Friday.

Fry’s: Those 60 and older can shop from 6 to 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

Gelson's: From 7 to 8 a.m., those who are 65 and older are permitted to shop. ID may be required.

Giant: Beginning March 20, stores will be reserved for those over the age of 60 from 6 to 7 a.m.

Harris Teeter: Mondays and Thursdays from 6 to 7 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. Thursdays. The pickup fee is waived, and seniors can opt for delivery for $5.

Hy-Vee: Customers 60 and older, pregnant women and anyone with an underlying health condition can shop daily from 7 to 8 a.m.

King Soopers: Those 60 and older may shop from 7 to 8 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Kowalski’s Markets: Every day, from 6 to 8 a.m, is reserved for customers at higher risk for the coronavirus.

KrogerSome Krogers have adjusted their hours of operation to include senior times. Check your local store for availability.

Lowes Foods: 7 to 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are dedicated to older adults and those who are more vulnerable to the virus.

Lunds & Byerlys: The opening hour of 7 to 8 a.m. is reserved for shoppers at higher risk of the coronavirus, including older adults and those with compromised immune systems.

Market Basket: Each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday stores open from 5:30 to 7 a.m. for those who are 60 and older.

Meijer: Stores and pharmacies provide shopping times for seniors and customers with chronic health conditions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 7 to 8 a.m.

Mother's Market: Every Wednesday, stores will open at 6 a.m. to accommodate older and immunocompromised shoppers.

Northgate Market: Only seniors, 65 and older, and disabled customers may shop from 7 to 8 a.m. daily.

Publix: Stores and pharmacies will open from 7 to 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for customers 65 and older.

Schnucks: The first opening hour of each day, 6-7 a.m., will be reserved for those 60 and older and other at-risk shoppers.

Sedano's: Shoppers age 65 and older or others who are immunocompromised can shop from 7 to 8 a.m.

Smart & Final: Stores are opening 30 minutes early, from 7:30 to 8 a.m., to accommodate consumers 65 and older, those with disabilities and pregnant women. ID may be requested.

Smith's Food and Drug: Those 60 and older may shop from 7 to 8 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Stater Bros.: Markets will open from 7 to 8 a.m. for people 65 and over.

Stop & Shop: From 6 to 7:30 a.m., shoppers age 60 and older can make purchases when stores are less crowded. ID will not be requested, but the company asks customers to “do the right thing for your neighbors."

Target: The first hour of shopping at stores each Wednesday is dedicated to older adults and those with underlying health concerns. Opening hours vary by location.

Trader Joe’s: Every day, between 9 and 10 a.m., employees will maintain an additional line outside the front door for seniors. This will “ensure that those customers in need will have an expedited entrance to the store.”

Vallarta Supermarkets: All stores will open from 7 to 8 a.m. for shoppers who are 65 or older, pregnant or disabled.

Walgreens: Starting March 24, every Tuesday is seniors day, with all-day discounts and senior-only shopping from 8 to 9 a.m. The hour is also designated for caregivers and immediate families. Discounts include 30 percent off Walgreen brands and 20 percent off national brands for those 55 and older.

Walmart: Beginning March 24 through April 28, on Tuesdays, shoppers 60 and older can shop one hour before the store open. Its pharmacies and vision centers will also be open. Store hours are 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Whole Foods: Shoppers who are 60 and older can shop at stores for one hour before the store opens to the general public. Store hours vary by location. So if a store is scheduled to open to the general public at 9 a.m., for example, older shoppers can shop 8-9 a.m.


by Aaron Kassraie, AARP, originally posted on AARP.org on March 26, 2020