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Whole Foods, Walmart, Target change store hours amid coronavirus pandemic

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Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Whole Foods said it’s changing its store hours during the coronavirus crisis to accommodate older shoppers and to help keep stores clean.

Starting Wednesday, customers who are 60 and older will be able to shop at stores in the US and Canada one hour before opening time for the general public. For instance, if a store’s posted hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., these older customers can come in starting at 8 a.m. 

Starting Thursday, customers in the UK who are 70 and older can come in one hour early. These changes were put into place to help seniors who have been identified by health officials as more vulnerable to the virus.

Additionally, Whole Foods stores will start closing up to two hours early “to restock shelves, sanitize our stores and rest in preparation for the next day,” the company said. During those times, stores will remain open for pickup and Prime deliveries. 

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Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, is one of many grocers and major retailers that have modified their hours and protocols amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Walmart this week reduced hours at its 24-hour locations to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. to help with restocking and cleaning. The retail giant said it will also offer hour-long senior shopping events every Tuesday from March 24 to April 28. Customers 60 and older will be able to shop one hour before a store opens. Pharmacies and Vision Centers will be open during this time, Walmart said. 

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Target is also reducing hours and will close all stories by 9 p.m. daily. The retailer said it’s staffing up services that support social distancing, like drive up and order pickup. Target also said this week it will reserve the first hour of shopping every Wednesday for elderly customers or those with underlying health concerns. 

Walgreens said most of its locations, including 24-hour stores, will now be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. to help employees sanitize and restock shelves. Stores with 24-hour pharmacy drive-throughs will maintain those hours for the drive-through windows. Pickup of some products will also be available at drive-through.

Many other supermarket chains across the country have trimmed store hours, while major retailers like Apple and Nike have closed their stores entirely.


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