How Supermarkets are Stepping Up for Older Adults

HEB Supermarket

Photo: H-E-B Partners

If it weren’t for social distancing, kiss the cook, the old expression that once crept onto BBQ aprons for Dad, today might segue into kiss the grocer in today’s world. With millions of Americans hunkering down during the coronavirus situation, the grocers are taking center stage, performing as all-stars in many cases, and deserving of major applause.

In particular, the most vulnerable group, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control to be 60-plus, maybe cheering for the special hours created just for them by grocery stores across the nation and around the world.

The employees of these stores are shouldering a huge responsibility by coming to work every day to serve their communities.

Of course, you won’t want to kiss the grocer but a smile and a wave plus a big thank you might make their day.

Here is a sampling of some of the larger chains:

Whole Foods – One Hour before Opening Dedicated to Older Adults

Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and Canada are currently servicing customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the general public, under the new adjusted hours posted on the store’s web page. (Example: if a store’s new hours are 9 am-8 pm, customers who are 60+ can shop starting at 8 am.)

All Whole Foods Market stores in the U.K. are servicing customers who are 70 and older one hour before opening to the general public, under the new adjusted hours posted on the store’s web page.

Wegmans – No Special Senior Hours

Wegmans is temporarily changing its hours of operation to better serve their customers and communities. All stores are now open from 7 am-10 pm.

They have temporarily closed: All Market Café seating areas, all in-store Pubs, select Burger Bars, Amore, Next Door.

A 2-item purchase limit on certain products has been implemented.

“Wegmans is here for you and will continue to keep our doors open,” Colleen Wegman, Wegman’s president and CEO, said. “Take a deep breath, and lead with your hearts. I believe our food supply chain and healthcare system are among the best in the world and if we take care of each other, we will get through this together.”

Wegman’s decision not to offer senior hours is offered on their website:

“We do not believe putting an entire population of highly susceptible people together in one location, at one time is a good idea. In addition, products arrive at each of our stores at different times throughout the day. Because of this, we cannot guarantee the availability of the key items these customers would be looking for during a specific set of hours.”

Albertsons – Tuesday and Thursday, 7 to 9

As the situation around Coronavirus continues to unfold, Albertsons Companies’ 2,200+ stores nationwide are setting aside dedicated shopping hours for senior citizens and other at-risk populations, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems, who have been advised to avoid leaving home as much as possible.

“We are sensitive to the fact that everyone wants to make sure they have the items they need, and we also know that everyone wants their neighbors to stay safe and healthy, too,” said Vivek Sankaran, President and CEO.

“We are asking our customers to respect these special hours for those who are most at risk in our communities. We thank our customers in advance for their compassion and understanding toward their neighbors and friends, and in helping us maintain this temporary operations guideline.”

At a minimum, the company will reserve every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. for those vulnerable shoppers who must leave home to obtain their groceries, unless otherwise locally mandated. Customers should check their store’s hours if they’re opening on a different schedule.

The company’s store hours are being updated continuously on its respective banners’ websites. For the best information on local store hours, visit the local store’s website. Here are a few:,,,

Kroger – Tuesday and Wednesday for 65-Plus

Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket by revenue, is offering special senior hours which vary by location. Check out their website for stores near you.

Senior citizens aged 65 and older will be permitted to shop their stores and access in-store pharmacies an hour before the store is open for the rest of their customers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until further notice.

Seniors will be allowed to enter the stores beginning at 7 a.m. and remain in the store for as long as they like. Stores will open for all customers at 8 a.m.

H-E-B Supermarket Chain Goes with Social Distancing

H-E-B, the San Antonio, Texas-based supermarket chain has more than 350 stores throughout the U.S. state of Texas, as well as in northeast Mexico. The company also operates Central Market, an upscale organic and fine foods retailer.

Options for seniors and neighbors in need H-E-B is now offering what they feel is one of the safest, healthiest solutions in the marketplace dedicated to seniors who are worried about going out in public.

H-E-B, in partnership with Favor Delivery, launched a simple, low-cost solution that gives seniors (60+) access to their very own personal shopper by phone, allowing them to get essential food and supplies delivered, while remaining in the comfort and safety of their home.

H-E-B and Favor will staff its Senior Support phone line with volunteers from both companies to accept and process orders over the phone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., seven days a week.

All orders are for same-day delivery. To access the Senior Support Line, call 1-833-397-0080. Seniors can also place their orders on Favor’s website at, or by downloading the Favor app and searching for “H-E-B.”

While the program isn’t available everywhere an H-E-B is located, there are plans to quickly expand this service. In those areas, they encourage people who need assistance with food, bills and childcare to contact 211.

Many customers have inquired about designating time for seniors to shop prior to the stores opening to the general public.

This statement issued by H-E-B explains their store hour decision: “Our leadership team studied this option thoroughly and due to recommendations from health officials and the CDC we have determined this is not the best and safest option for our customers. We’re promoting social distancing and please know we will be announcing more ways to deliver products to those in need, including our seniors.”

Giant Food Stores

Giant Food Stores, LLC operates stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The chain is offering to help protect higher-risk individuals including those 60 and older by opening their doors at 6 AM, Monday through Wednesday.

While they say they will not be checking IDs for age confirmation, they are asking other shoppers to respect this dedicated hour.

After the first hour, the supermarkets will be open for everyone between 7 AM and 10 PM.

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