Some Okanagan grocery stores offer seniors-only shopping hours amid COVID-19 pandemic - InfoNews

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Some Okanagan grocery stores offer seniors-only shopping hours amid COVID-19 pandemic

FILE. Peachland IGA.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Peachland IGA
March 16, 2020 - 2:44 PM

In an effort to ensure the elderly residents can shop for their essentials in a safest possible environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, select IGA stores across the Okanagan are reserving weekly shopping hours

"We're offering seniors only shopping from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays," Colin Laidlaw, Peachland IGA store manager, said. 

The hours are available at the Summerland, Penticton, Lake Country, Enderby, Peachland, Glenmore and Rutland IGAs. Some others have yet to adopt the change, as of yet.

"That could change going forward — either an increase or decrease in hours— depending on the landscape of the country," he said.

The decision to move forward with the exclusive shopping window came out of an apparent need to protect residents at higher risk of more serious outcomes from contracting COVID-19.

"Seniors are very vulnerable to some of the things going around right now and this will give them the safest and cleanest environment," he said.

"It's what's right for the community."

It will also help older residents potentially intimidated by larger crowds better navigate shopping experiences.

This weekend, Laidlaw said, Peachland's IGA was the busiest he'd ever seen it.

A wall of toilet paper was reduced to a few rolls and canned goods, among other stable food items, were a hot commodity.

"All retailers are seeing increases in revenue across the board and speaking to past colleagues (from other retailers), everyone has seen increases," he said.

Kevin Kothlow owns the IGAs in Enderby and Lake Country and he said the reason to go forward with the reduced hours is clear.

"It's important we take care of our senior population," he said. "We're all in this together so we need to get through it together."

Kothlow added that the only trouble may be whether what's needed is actually available given the panic shopping that's gone on in recent days.

"Our warehouses have been shorting us quite a bit of stuff already," he said, adding that he ordered 200 cases of toilet paper and three cases arrived. Bleaches and Lysol wipes were unavailable. 

Calls to several other grocery stores have not yet been returned.

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