Local grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway implemented changes to their operations thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect both customers and employees. Specifically, these businesses are offering dedicated shopping hours for those deemed most at risk including those 60 years-old and above and the disabled. Both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, have dedicated 8 aAM – 9 AM for these shoppers while Safeway is open from 6 am – 9am for these vulnerable customers. Additionally, Trader Joe’s limits the number of customers in the store to allow for social distancing.
While these efforts to safeguard these higher-risk populations are well intended, some health officials feel that they should not be out shopping at all. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “older adults may be at higher risk for more severe complications from COVID-19.” In fact, CDC reports that those 65 and over have the highest rates of hospitalizations from this disease. As a result of elderly individuals’ susceptibility to this virus, Alysa Krain, a physician specializing in infectious diseases and geriartic medicine, warns that vulnerable individuals should “have friends and relatives shop for them” as “there’s no such thing as being too cautious.” Additionally, those who are at higher risk can utilize the delivery services Whole Foods and Safeway offer.