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Whole Foods Opening Early for Seniors Due to Coronavirus

By Daniel B. Kline - Mar 18, 2020 at 8:41AM

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The retailer wants to protect a vulnerable population.

Amazon.com's (AMZN 3.15%) Whole Foods has become the latest retailer to offer older customers a chance to shop before their stores open to the general public. The chain is doing this specifically because senior citizens face a greater risk of serious health issues if they contract coronavirus.

What is Whole Foods doing?

The grocery chain has decided to open its U.S. stores one hour early to customers over the age of 60. Hours vary by market, so you'll have to look up your local store to know the exact times.

The exterior of a Whole Foods.

Whole Foods is opening early for customers over 60. Image source: Amazon.

"We are setting aside this time to help these customers, who national health authorities have identified as among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, feel more comfortable shopping our stores and helping to ensure they are able to get the items they need in a less crowded environment," the company said in a press release.

The chain also plans to close its stores "up to two hours early" to allow employees to "restock shelves, sanitize our stores and rest in preparation for the next day." During those hours stores that offer pickup will still provide that service and Amazon Prime orders will continue to be filled.

Coronavirus demands this

Whole Foods has been making smart moves in an operating environment no retailer has ever experienced. The company understands the unique nature of coronavirus and the demands it has placed on the food supply as well as other essential items.

There's no blueprint for this, but Amazon's grocery chain has adapted well to an unprecedented situation. Expect more changes as the situation evolves.

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