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News >  Spokane

Grocery chains, Target provide shopping time for seniors and the vulnerable

Patty Rowley waits in the checkout line during a special shopping time for senior and at-risk populations  at Rosauers on 29th Avenue, Thursday, March 19, 2020. One of the items she purchased was oatmeal. “You can’t go wrong with porridge,” Rowley said. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Patty Rowley waits in the checkout line during a special shopping time for senior and at-risk populations at Rosauers on 29th Avenue, Thursday, March 19, 2020. One of the items she purchased was oatmeal. “You can’t go wrong with porridge,” Rowley said. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

All Rosauers, Huckleberry’s, Albertsons, Super 1 Foods and Safeway locations will offer store hours designated only for seniors and vulnerable members of the community. Target stores nationwide have established a similar policy.

Rosauers will dedicate 7-9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays to these populations. Rosauers CEO Jeff Philipps said he consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and set the senior guideline at anyone ages 60 and older. With this and with the vulnerable population – which includes those who are pregnant – shoppers will be on the honor system.

“We had a number of requests for it, and we were able to step up and provide this service for our most vulnerable,” Philipps said. “I know that there will be lots of people who are very excited about our ability to accommodate their needs.”

Albertsons, Huckleberry’s, Super 1 Foods and Safeway have designated the same days and hours. Target has set aside the first hour after opening, every day of the week.

Because the stores are stocked in the evening, this will allow shoppers to have first pass at the products, though Philipps said high-demand items – such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper – will continue to have a per customer item limit.

“We’ve tried to put the message out in the community to say there’s plenty of food for everyone,” Philipps said. “And if everyone will maintain their normal purchasing habits, then there will be enough for everyone.”

Philipps said he is not worried about members of the selected populations being in the same area.

“Our stores are pretty large facilities,” Phillips said. “Most of our stores average about 50,000 square feet. Depending upon the number of people who are interested in this service, I’m going to say that there’s plenty of room inside the grocery store for them to spread out.”

Tairsa Worman, Albertsons public affairs manager, said the company has received a lot of positive feedback since announcing the policy.

“I think for us, along with everyone else, this is a brand new frontier, so we are assessing needs of community,” Worman said. “If we can help the most vulnerable in our community be safe, we’re going to try to do it.”

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