COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Some stores are making significant changes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which includes creating a special shopping hour for one of the most vulnerable age groups.
The following stores have senior shopping hours to help this group, as well as other vulnerable customers, get the supplies that they need:
Walmart is offering special shopping hours for seniors. From March 24 through April 28, Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older. This will start one hour before the store opens. Pharmacies and Vision Centers will also be open during this time.
Publix will hold special “senior hours” two days a week to allow shoppers deemed more at-risk for COVID-19 time to shop and avoid crowds. The grocer announced that it will designate Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for customers age 65 and over. Publix pharmacies will also open early at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to serve senior shoppers.
Target said they’ll reserve the first hour of shopping each Wednesday to support vulnerable guests, including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns.
Starting March 18, all Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and Canada will let customers who are 60 and older shop one hour before opening to the public.
BI-LO said it will also set aside an hour each morning Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for seniors and high-risk customers to shop to help protect them from exposure to COVID-19 at all of its stores. Store pharmacies will also open weekdays at 8 a.m. to provide prescription refills, influenza, and pneumonia vaccines and customer counseling.
Beginning Monday, March 23rd Kroger will block off 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Mondays through Thursdays as designated shopping hours for seniors over 60 and high-risk individuals as defined by the CDC. Kroger associates will assist anyone who needs additional help while shopping.
Walgreens senior hour is only on Tuesdays, and begins this week, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Beyond the carved out shopping time, Walgreen’s says it’s also available to caregivers and immediate families. Walgreens says customers 55 years and older will get special discounts on Tuesdays.
Starting March 23, the first hour of daily shopping will be reserved for senior customers, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The company didn’t specify the age range of seniors, which is generally considered to be 65 and older.
This list will be updated as more information becomes available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the coronavirus is spread mainly from person-to-person by those in close contact, or through coughing and sneezing by someone who’s infected.
Symptoms of coronavirus can show up between two and 14 days of exposure, health officials say. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But some severe cases can lead to death.
Those who are at the highest risk of catching COVID-19 are the young, the elderly and those who are already being treated for chronic medical diseases.
Young people who contract the virus are less likely to have a serious case, research shows. However, the CDC said about 40% of people who needed to be hospitalized due to the coronavirus are between the ages of 20 and 54.
Doctors say there is not currently a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, but over-the-counter medications, like cold and cough medicines, can help treat symptoms of the virus.
The mortality rate for people with the virus has been widely reported around 2 to 3%, but health experts note the actual percentage is not that high, as not all cases are diagnosed or reported.
The rate is higher than the flu, which kills on average about 0.1% of people who get it, based on a 10-year average of data from the CDC.
Anyone with concerns about their health, or who believes they are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider.
People with general questions about coronavirus should call the DHEC Care Line at 855-472-3432. The line is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Callers are urged to be patient as call volumes are high.
People without a doctor can take advantage of free online screening from Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
MUSC has an online platform to aid with coronavirus diagnosis and care. Go to musc.care and access the COVID-19 platform. The service is free with code: COVID19.
Prisma Health also has a free virtual visit, which allows patients to video conference with a doctor instead of coming into a facility. The goal is to keep patients who don’t need to be treated at a hospital at home. Go to primsahealth.org/virtual-visit and use promo code COVID19 for a free virtual visit.
For more information on COVID-19, click or tap here to visit the CDC’s website.