Local grocery stores are setting aside dedicated hours of shopping for seniors and those with higher risk of contracting coronavirus.
At Newport Ave. Market, anyone 65 and over will have the store to themselves between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The store is open to the general public from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“It’s nice to have something open this early without a big crowd,” said one shopper at the store Wednesday.
“I just think this it’s the most exciting thing to happen all week!” said another.
While some came on a mission.
“I came in to pick up my wine!” said one shopper.
Others simply took advantage of the far less crowded store to shop in peace.
“[We came early] to stay away from as many people as possible and get my groceries early and get back home,” said one couple.
“Most older people just wake up early and there’s nowhere to go and you’ve got to get out of the house at least once,” said another shopper.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it, all we can concentrate on are our four walls and maintain a bright, positive smile and give people a little bit of respite from what’s going on in the news,” said Newport Ave. Market CEO Lauren Johnson. “We’re doing what we can.”
Newport is piloting the program in response to a request from the Council on Aging of Central Oregon. The isolated shopping experience mirrors what is being done in other cities and countries to meet the needs of high-risk populations.
Market of Choice in Bend is offering a similar service for those 60 and over from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. The store is open to the general public from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.