As residents make a rush on grocery and retail stores stocking up on mass amounts of supplies including toilet paper and hand sanitizer amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), supermarkets are adjusting their hours to restock and clean and making other changes.
Two of the region's largest stores, Stop & Shop and Connecticut-based Big Y, have announced changes in their hours to allow time for employees to stock the shelves and clean all areas of the stores that are accessed by shoppers.
Stop & Shop and Big Y have adjusted their hours to 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at most stores beginning Monday, March 16, until further notice.
Stop & Shop is also creating hours specifically geared to accommodate customers 60 and older effective on Thursday, March 19.
Stop & Shop stores will open from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. only for those customers of the age group who the CDC and local health officials say are most vulnerable.
"Although Stop & shop will not be requesting ID for entry, we request that we all respect the purpose of the early opening – and do the right thing for our older neighbors," Stop & Shop said in a statement. "Stop & Shop will reserve the right to ask customers to leave if they are not a member of this age group."
Stop & Shop is also suspending pickup service and stopped all in-store tastings.
ShopRite has not adjusted its hours.
All three stores said delivery services to homes will be delayed. ShopRite said all items will be left at the door.
ShopRite has also limited the purchase of items such as disinfectant cleaners and wipes, bar and liquid soaps, water, cough/cold over the counter medicines to two.
Stew Leonard's, located in Fairfield County, Yonkers, Nassau County and Paramus, New Jersey, has not changed hours, but has stepped up cleaning and is attempting to keep all items stocked all day long. (See video above.)
Stew Leonard's has also suspended in-store tastings.
The store is currently out of hand sanitizer.
Stop & Shop said it is continuing to maintain high levels of hygiene and sanitation in its stores and online operations.
"We’re also taking additional measures during this time, which include wiping down checkout areas including the belts and pin pads with disinfectant even more frequently," Stop & Shop said. "We will continue to follow guidance from the CDC to help keep our customers and associates safe."
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