Rural discount retailer Dollar General (DG -0.18%) announced that starting today, the first hour of shopping after its stores open their doors in the morning will be for seniors only. The measure is intended to give people who are potentially highly vulnerable to coronavirus because of their age the opportunity to get their shopping done early, while minimizing their exposure to younger people who might have picked up the virus at work, school, or while traveling.

Dollar General exterior with a shopping cart.

Image source: Dollar General.

The company also assumes early shopping will be less crowded in general. CEO Todd Vasos addressed younger customers to "request they visit our stores later in the morning to allow at-risk populations the ability to purchase the items they need," but did not specify whether the store would take any active steps to allow admittance to seniors only during the allocated time.

While Dollar General stores will continue to open at the normal time, they will close one hour earlier than usual in the evening while these special coronavirus hours remain in effect. According to the company statement, this will help maintain the health of personnel, along with giving them time to restock shelves and thoroughly clean the store interior to help prevent the spread of germs on surfaces.

The extra cleaning measures in the evening after closure also means that seniors will arrive in the morning to find a freshly scrubbed and disinfected shopping environment. The new arrangements are currently open-ended, with no exact end date specified by Dollar General, which has set itself apart with 30 years of same-store sales growth