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Whole Foods joins growing rank of grocers offering special senior hours to minimize virus exposure – MarketWatch

Whole Foods Market on Wednesday joined a growing number of grocery stores in adjusting its hours of operation and setting aside a special time for seniors to shop, so they’re less exposed to the coronavirus.

All Whole Foods stores in the U.S. and Canada will allow customers 60 and older to shop before opening to the general public. For example, if a store opens at 9 a.m., seniors can start shopping at 8 a.m. The change took effect Wednesday, and Whole Foods stores in the U.K. will follow suit Thursday, though the special hours will be for those 70 and up.

“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,” Whole Foods said in a statement.

Additionally, stores will close up to two hours earlier to give workers more time to sanitize and restock shelves. Stores will still be open for pickup orders during that time.

Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon.com Inc.

, said customers can check its website for updated local store hours.

A number of other supermarkets, including Safeway, Albertsons, Dollar General

, Walmart

and Target

, have also recently added special senior shopping hours before opening to the general public.

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