Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dollar General and other retailers to allow only seniors for first hour of business during coronavirus pandemic

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Dollar General Corp. announced Monday that it will allow seniors and other "at-risk populations" only during its first hour open each day. Though the measure isn't enforceable, CEO Todd Vasos asks customers to observe it voluntarily in the company's 16,000-plus stores, Kelly Tyko reports for USA Today. Stores will also close an hour early so staff can clean and restock.

Dollar General has a large and expanding presence in rural America, which has a disproportionate share of seniors. Covid-19 is deadliest for people over age 60 and those with underlying health issues.

Other stores are taking the same or similar measures, in the U.S. and around the world. The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. in the northeastern U.S. will allow only shoppers age 60 and over from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. starting Thursday, Tyko reports.

Texas supermarket chain H-E-B said it will not implement special hours for vulnerable customers, and said that data showed that it was not the "best and safest option" for customers, David Williams reports for CNN. But H-E-B and other major grocery chains such as Kroger and Walmart are reducing store hours for cleaning and restocking, Shannon Liao reports for CNN Business.

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