It seems like a GREAT idea. Open all the supermarkets an hour or two early JUST for seniors, allowing America’s most vulnerable people a chance to go grocery shopping without the crowds.
And indeed stores across the country are doing just that.
It helps to limit potential exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Plus, it ensures that older folks don’t have to wrestle over a pack of chicken or fight for the last roll of toilet paper.
But before you head out for “senior hours,” there’s something you need to know.
It’s NOT perfect… and it COULD be risky.
And in many cases, there are better ways to get your grocery shopping done without facing the risks of exposure.
The hidden potential danger of “SENIOR HOURS”
Some experts say the senior hours ONLY work if you can ensure that everyone in the grocery store… customers and workers alike… doesn’t have the virus.
But since you can have it and spread it WITHOUT any obvious symptoms (asymptomatic cases), there’s no way to ensure that.
All it takes is one person in the grocery store to be contagious. Now, instead of protecting the most vulnerable, they’re all gathered in one place around the virus… exposing them all at once.
5 SAFER grocery shopping alternatives
I’m SURE the stores mean well.
But if you need groceries, there are better, safer options that WON’T put you in crowds, and WON’T expose you to the virus or the risk.
Nearly all major supermarket chains offer online ordering and delivery, and the fees are often more reasonable than you think. Many offer discounts or waived fees to first-time delivery customers. Most offer “unattended” delivery. They’ll leave everything on your porch, so you don’t have to come into close contact with the driver. You can even tip online.
Not everyone is online, including smaller stores and markets. Call your local grocers and ask what delivery options they offer. Even grocery stores that don’t typically deliver are doing it now. And some do so ONLY for seniors.
If there’s no delivery near you, some stores also offer pickup options. Order and pay online, and you just show up to get your order. You still have to go to the store, but can minimize your time out. Some stores – including Target – will bring everything to your car and even load it into your trunk for you.
Community-supported agriculture plans are like farmers’ markets that deliver, but not quite to your door. They bring boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables to a central point in a neighborhood for pickup. Search online for “CSA,” and you’ll find directories with options near you. Picking up a box of fresh produce outside will minimize your contact with other people. And is likely far safer than being stuck in lines at a crowded grocery store,
This is a social media website limited to specific neighborhoods. In many communities, good Samaritans are offering to run errands for seniors right now. Sign up for a free account at NextDoor.com and see what’s available near you. If no one has posted anything yet, feel free to make a post of your own asking for help. You might be surprised by how many offers you get.
If none of these options work, then go ahead and take advantage of senior hours – just don’t let your guard down. Know what you want going in… get it quickly… keep within a safe distance of everyone else… and even use that annoying self-checkout if you can.
Avoid touching your face after. And when you get home… wash your hands!