COVID-19 Forces Grocery Stores and Pharmacies to Change Hours and Enact Preventive Measures

Stop & Shop is one of the local retailers temporarily changing operating hours. Photo credit: Dexter McCann

COVID-19 has resulted in changing hours at Trader Joe’s, Shop & Shop, and Big Y.

By Dexter McCann

The COVID-19 outbreak has affected every facet of life in West Hartford over the past couple weeks, with schools closing, programs canceled, and travel plans abandoned. Grocery stores and pharmacies are no exception, and many have altered hours and taken preventive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Trader Joe’s has altered their hours, moving from a 7 a.m.-9 p.m. schedule to a 9 a.m.-7 p.m. schedule. In addition, they are increasing the frequency of routine cleaning and suspending food and beverage sampling. Trader Joe’s has also made additional sick leave available to employees. 

A Trader Joe’s employee confirmed that there were “no shortages” as of 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. 

Whole Foods will remain open from 8 a.m.-10:00 p.m. They are, however, suspending food and beverage sampling, and their national website refers to “enhanced cleanliness and sanitation protocols across all stores and facilities,” which includes modified menus and an increase in hand sanitizing stations. 

Starting Monday, Stop & Shop will condense hours from the former 7 a.m.-midnight to 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. A manager confirmed that the early closing time was in place to allow employees to “clean and restock everything.” The manager alluded to issues with shortages on Saturday, but noted that those issues stemmed from delivery issues that had been resolved, and that most everything was still available. 

Big Y will now be open from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m., as opposed to the normal hours of 7 a.m.-9 p.m. They have started offering hot food in prepackaged form to limit human contact. A Big Y Manager confirmed that the store had sold out of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and tissues, but that the shortages were mostly confined to non-food items. 

BJ’s has not made any changes to their hours as of now, but a manager acknowledged the company was approaching the situation “on a day-to-day basis.” The manager noted that BJ’s had been taking preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, but that he was not authorized to speak on those measures to the press. 

BJ’s had a sign at the entrance to the store apologizing for potential shortages and acknowledging that “demand for some items currently exceeds our suppliers’ capacity to produce them.” 

A BJ’s sign acknowledging shortages of certain “high-demand products”

CVS is not changing their hours for the upcoming week, but a manger did note several preventive measures the company was taking to avoid the spread of COVID-19, including the hourly disinfecting of services of surfaces used by customers. 

Walgreens has also not altered hours for the upcoming week. They have made hand sanitizer more available throughout stores for customers and are disinfecting surfaces frequently. 

Hours of operation at other retailers may change, and if you are headed to a retailer or other business an advance call is a good idea.

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Dexter McCann

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