Smith’s, Dollar General announce special hours for seniors in wake of COVID-19

The outside of a Smith's Food and Drug store in Cedar City, Utah, May 2, 2015 | File photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — On Tuesday, Smith’s Food and Drug stores announced they will be leaving the first hour of store hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday solely for senior citizens.

Empty shelves at the Bluff street Smith’s location, St. George, Utah, March 13, 2020 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

Dollar General will also be implementing the practice of leaving the first hour of store hours to senior citizens.

Workers at other stores such as Walmart and Albertsons confirmed they were looking into following suit as it is becoming increasingly hard for seniors to shop with many shelf-stable goods and toiletries flying off the shelves.

Starting on Wednesday, all Smith’s locations will be open at 7 a.m., but shoppers who are not seniors will not be allowed in the store until 8 a.m. There will be staff to help those who need special accommodations. After that hour, Smith’s will return to normal operation, closing at 10 p.m.

The grocery chain is also looking into extending their pharmacy hours to open earlier for seniors.

“Smith’s wants to provide these at-risk customers with the ability to purchase the items they need to avoid busier and more crowded shopping times,” Aubriana Martindale, Smith’s corporate affairs manager, said in a press release. “We request that customers respect these hours for the health of our community during this time of uncertainty. We appreciate all of our customers for their kind consideration, whose concern contributed to our decision to provide allocated hours for seniors.”

Empty shelves at Lin’s Marketplace, Hurricane, Utah, March 17, 2020 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Smith’s is also waiving pick-up fees for online orders through April 18 from customers whose verified age is 60 years and older.

Dollar General also announced they will be doing the same, dedicating their first hour of operation strictly to seniors.

“In keeping with our mission and our ongoing commitment to serve our communities, we are dedicating the first hour of each day to seniors. We appreciate our customers’ understanding of our decision and request they visit our stores later in the morning to allow at-risk populations the ability to purchase the items they need at affordable prices,” Todd Vasos, Dollar General CEO, said in a release. “During these unprecedented times, Dollar General is diligently working to meet the ongoing needs of our customers and communities.”

There are two Smith’s locations in St. George and one in Cedar City. For Dollar General, they have one location in St. George.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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