- As the COVID-19 crisis continues, some grocers are adding dedicated shopping hours to first responders and healthcare workers. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Giant Eagle has extended curbside pickup hours from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for healthcare workers at one of its locations, the Post-Gazette reported. Eligible workers will be able to place their grocery orders through an employer-provided link.
- In California, the Save Mart Companies will offer shopping hours specifically for first responders at its Save Mart, FoodMaxx and Lucky’s banners. The stores have reserved one hour before opening and one hour after closing for law enforcement, fire and medical personnel, the company said in a press release.
- Southeastern grocery banners Winn-Dixie and Harveys have also added extended shopping hours for healthcare providers and first responders from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record. Cub Foods and Kroger banners are also among supermarkets that have invited first responders to take advantage of special shopping hours.
Grocers, which have addressed the needs of various groups and demographics amid the coronavirus outbreak, are now focusing on healthcare workers and first responders.
Across the companies, executives have noted the stress the pandemic has put on these workers’ schedules and the need to support them as they work long hours and put their own well-being at risk.
Dedicated pickup times and shopping hours will allow healthcare employees and first responders to get their grocery shopping done more quickly when crowds are smaller, and minimize contact and exposure to people who could be sick.
Stop & Shop announced plans to donate 5,000 meals per day to first responders in New York and Boston to aid people who are working long shifts in hard-hit areas and don’t have time to shop for groceries. On a smaller scale, Korner Grocery in Pierre, South Dakota, is also donating meals and snacks to first responders.
Other retailers are turning to discounts for the people on the front lines. Dollar General is giving medical personnel and first responders 10% off for the month of April, if not longer, the company said.
Beyond first responders and health care workers, many grocers have created special hours for those who are particularly susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, such as people who are 60 or older, pregnant or immunocompromised. While it is difficult for grocers to ensure that only people in those groups shop during the reserved times, they will be able to require first responders to show credentials, which could help them limit access to these customers.