Stores Created Time Slots for the Immunocompromised to Shop

Older gentleman on a motorized scooter driving thru grocery store by himself wearing a face mask
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Older gentleman on a motorized scooter driving thru grocery store by himself wearing a face mask

One measure that was put in place at many stores was the creation of special shopping times for the elderly and immunocompromised. These special shopping times were designed to allow people who were at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 to shop in a safer environment. By limiting the number of people in the store and providing a dedicated time for these individuals to shop, stores were able to create a safer shopping experience.

Elderly people and those with compromised immune systems were at significantly higher risk for COVID-19. They were significantly more likely to experience complications from the virus and have a much higher mortality rate. Basically, the entire pandemic response—masks, social distancing, quarantines—were all done to keep the elderly and immunocompromised safe.

At some point, there should be a study done to see if this was the best response. Some could argue we shouldn’t have shut down any businesses or any parts of society, and instead protected the elderly and immunocompromised using a different strategy, but that debate is for a different time.

Target, Whole Foods, Aldi, and Dollar General were examples of stores who adopted a policy where at least one day a week there was an hour dedicated to people of a certain age. Most other regional or local stores followed suit with their own similar policies, as the goal was to keep their customers safe, but also to follow the industry leader’s examples. As with a lot of the policies set during the pandemic, the leaders in each area would act first and figure out the strategy, and then everyone beneath them would just let the protocols cascade down to them.

The special shopping times were met with mostly positive reactions from the public. In some cases, younger shoppers had to wait outside for the time slot to pass, but it was a minor annoyance. The time slots were almost always the first hour of the day that the store was open, while most people were still asleep. The elderly got their shopping out of the way in an empty store, without any of those pesky whippersnappers to get in their way. This was probably the way they would have wanted it to be all along.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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