Grocery stores begin implementing designated hours for high-risk shoppers amid COVID-19 outbreak

Several grocery stores in Southern California are setting aside time to allow their most vulnerable customers to shop because they may be at the greatest risk for novel coronavirus.

Panic shopping has left store shelves empty and has made it difficult for at-risk groups, including older adults and people with underlying health conditions, to get supplies.

The number of stores that are dedicating time or opening earlier for those at-risk groups to shop continues to grow. 

Dollar General

Dollar General has designated the first hour at its more than 16,000 stores in 44 states as open daily to senior shoppers.

Gelson’s Market

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, only shoppers over the age of 65 will be able to visit Gelson's between 7-8 a.m. All other shoppers are welcome to shop beginning at 8 a.m.

Grocery Outlet (Altadena)

Grocery Outlet in Altadena is offering senior shopping hours daily from 7-8 a.m. Those over the age of 60 can shop during that time when the store is freshly cleaned and stocked, the company said. During that time, younger residents will not be allowed to shop for seniors, if you plan on shopping for a senior, you'll have to come back during regular hours.

Mother's Market (Orange County)

Every Wednesday, starting March 18, all stores will open at 6:00 a.m., one hour earlier, to accommodate only people who fall into high-risk populations – including, but not limited to, elderly, disabled, those with compromised immune systems and chemo patients.

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Northgate Gonzalez Market

Effective immediately, all Northgate Gonzalez Markets will modify their store hours to allow those 65 years of age and older, as well as disabled and pregnant customers, the opportunity to shop between 7-8 a.m. daily. Regular shoppers can still get groceries between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.


Ralph's will be offering seniors the exclusive opportunity to shop between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. daily, a spokesperson confirmed to FOX 11.

Super A Foods

Super A Foods is allowing shoppers over the age of 65 exclusive shopping between 7:30-8 a.m. daily before they open to the general public.


Beginning Wednesday, March 18, Target will reserve the first hour of shopping each Wednesday at stores nationwide for vulnerable guests – including elderly and those with underlying health concerns.

Whole Foods Markets

Starting on Wednesday, March 18, all Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and Canada will service customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the public up to two hours early to give employees more time restock shelves and clean. Stores will remain open for pickup during those times.

Vallarta Supermarket

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, all Vallarta Supermarket locations will be open from 7-8 a.m. for those 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and those with disabilities.

If you know of a grocery store that should be added to this list, please email

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