Supermarkets are opening early in countries such as the #UnitedKingdom, #Ireland, and Australia so that senior citizens or those with disabilities can avoid #coronavirus #PanicShopping.
Since the arrival of the #China-origin #COVID19 to Europe, British shoppers, fearing shortages, closures, and quarantines, have been stockpiling on essentials across the country. Supermarkets are working with suppliers and delivery services to increase production and delivery to respond to the demand, but shelves normally holding pasta, rice, UHT milk, or toilet paper are often empty by the middle of the day.
In a bid to ensure that the more vulnerable people in our society are not left wanting and can shop in safety, British budget supermarket chain Iceland has announced some of its stores will open an hour early exclusively for senior citizens and those with disabilities. While not company policy, managers at a local level have decided to respond to their communities’ needs and open their stores early where needed. “We just want to make sure the experience is as stress-free as possible,” Danny Burke, the manager for Iceland in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, told the BBC, with other Iceland stores are opening early in the south-east and north of England.
In the Republic of Ireland, Lidl and Tesco store managers are also looking out for their community by offering priority shopping for seniors, over 65s, and carers. All 163 Lidls across Ireland will offer “priority shopping” for these groups from 9 am to 11 am every day, which will include “prioritised queuing and additional assistance for our older customers”. All of Tesco’s 151 stores will be open an hour early for seniors on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Australian supermarket chain Woolworths has introduced a special “elderly hour” for its senior customers whilst another chain, Coles, is set to introduce a similar scheme. Many older Aussies had told the BBC that they found it difficult to get supplies, with Australians similarly stockpiling. “Today, there was plenty of food on the shelves,” one shopper told the broadcaster, whilst another noted how well organised and friendly all the staff had been.