Grocery stores are adjusting their hours in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, giving employees more time to clean and stock shelves, while offering special shopping hours and services to seniors and vulnerable populations.

Many grocery retailers announced adjusted hours this week to allow for restocking while the stores are closed overnight.

H-E-B stores and Arlan’s Market will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Walmart will operate from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Target, which also offers grocery items, will open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Customers should call their favorite store to verify hours and obtain operating times for other services.

H-E-B and Favor Delivery have established a Senior Support Line, a new delivery program designed to offer a safer solution for seniors — age 60 and older. 

Seniors can place orders from a curated list of essentials by phone line, the Favor app or at favordelivery.com/seniors

The line will be staffed with volunteers to accept and process home delivery orders by phone daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Through this same-day service, a Favor Runner will personally shop all orders at H-E-B and deliver directly to the customer’s doorsteps within just a few hours,” said Jag Bath, Favor chief executive officer and H-E-B chief digital officer in a statement. “To further promote social distancing, runners will leave all orders placed through the Senior Support Line at the customer’s doorstep, eliminating close personal interaction.” 

To access the service, call 1-833-397-0080.

All fees will be waived for the first 30 days, with a $10 tip included in the order for the Favor delivery person.

Target is reserving the first hour of shopping each Wednesday for those in vulnerable populations, including the elderly and those with underlying health concerns.

From March 24 through April 28, Walmart stores will host a senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older starting one hour before the store opens. 

Stores continue to limit customer purchases in certain categories.

According to Dacona Smith, executive vice president and COO of Walmart U.S., limited items include paper products, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, wipes, formula and baby food.

H-E-B was limiting food items such as chicken, ground beef and ground turkey and non-food products like baby diapers and wipes, bath tissue, and disinfecting and antibacterial sprays.

Increases and bonuses

On Friday, H-E-B officials tweeted that all hourly store, manufacturing, warehouse and transportation Partners will receive $2 per hour “Texas Proud Pay” from March 16 to April 12.

“Texans rely on H-E-B and we rely on our great partners,” the tweet stated. “We understand it is our responsibility to provide essential services to our customers during a time when so many other businesses have not been able to stay open or have had to scale back operations significantly.”

Walmart today announced plans to provide a special cash bonus for hourly associates in stores, clubs, supply chain and offices. The bonus will be $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates and will add up to more than $365 million. Every hourly associate employed by the company as of March 1 will qualify, and it will pay out on April 2.

Farmers Market

New Braunfels Farmers Market will continue to operate at 186 S. Castell Ave. every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The market has removed all non-essential products, onsite concessions, ready-to-eat foods, arts and crafts and entertainment in order to comply with local and state regulations and to focus on items that are essential to community needs.

“We understand and appreciate that there is widespread community concern about COVID-19 and social gatherings,” a Facebook post written by the market team read. “While many markets have embraced the feel of an outdoor event we want to emphasize that at its core the purpose of a farmers’ market is to be a critical component in maintaining and rebuilding local food economies by providing people increased access to fresh food.”

The post goes on the state that “farmers’ markets are a product of a shortened supply chain, meaning the food passes through fewer hands than at other retail outlets.” 

“Our market takes place in the open air with space to move away from people if needed and the temporary nature of the booths allows for easy cleaning. There are a lot of empty shelves in the grocery stores right now and our market contributes to the community’s food resilience.”

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(1) comment

Sandra Miller

While Walmart stores opening 1 hour early for seniors is a nice gesture, it has not been thought out properly. Yes the store may be better stocked and the elderly won’t be overwhelmed with younger folk who push them aside in the aisles, however, this means the elderly need to drive in the dark to get there at 6:00 a.m. Many seniors do not drive in the dark due to visual issues. While at least a step in the right direction, perhaps another time like 6:00 p.m. while still daylight (closed to all other shoppers at 5:00p.m. to allow restocking).

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