Retail titan Walmart (WMT 0.60%) rolled out an early bird pickup hour for people over 60 and other customers particularly at risk of serious consequences from coronavirus infections, according to a Tuesday press release. The grocery pickup is only operational at some of the chain's locations, but its website offers a map and other resources so shoppers can easily determine local availability.

At the participating outlets, the hour between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. is reserved for those who qualify as at-risk. This category includes customers 60 years old or older, individuals with disabilities, all types of officially designated first responders, and anyone else classified as "at-risk" by CDC standards. These people are either more likely to develop dangerous complications if they catch COVID-19 or, in the case of first responders, are likely already subject to high exposure.

A pickup sign on the outside of a Walmart store.

Image source: Walmart.

Qualifying shoppers can opt in to the special morning pickup hour using a prompt on Walmart's website grocery ordering page, which determines their eligibility. Once they arrive, they open the trunk, hatch, or door of their vehicle. Employees who have used boosted sanitation measures then bring out purchases and place them in the vehicle without making direct contact with the customer.

Walmart notes people in the at-risk category can also choose to pick up groceries at other times if they prefer, though in this case they will have potential contact with all other customers. Senior VP Tom Ward remarked, "These are extraordinary times, and we are constantly looking for ways we can help deliver that same peace of mind to all our customers."