Grocer offers coronavirus hours for seniors, at-risk shoppers

DeCicco & Sons stores are only allowing between 50-80 customers to enter at a time

A local grocer in New York is offering special shopping hours for those most at risk for contracting the new coronavirus.

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Every day starting at 8 a.m., DeCicco & Sons is dedicating the first half an hour of the shopping day for elderly and immune-compromised shoppers only.

Health officials have stressed that those most at risk for developing a more serious case of COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus, are seniors and people with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

The policy, which went into effect Monday, is being implemented in all eight of its locations, Chris Dapolito, a store manager at the Pelham, New York, location told FOX Business Monday.

DeCicco & Sons

The store will be readily available for the general population starting at 8:30 a.m. however, locations are limiting the number of customers that can enter at one time to between 50 and 80 people, depending on the store size, so customers "are not on top of each other" Dapolito said.

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Despite Monday's policy, the family-owned grocer is still recommending that those most at risk have someone shop for them as a safety precaution or to order online instead, Dapolito said. The stores are currently taking phone orders from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. for same-day deliveries. Customers can also order supplies online. Groceries can be delivered in a few hours through Instacart, a grocery delivery service.

DeCicco & Sons has implemented a slate of changes to combat the spread of the virus, such as opening a half an hour later and closing earlier to allot more time for employees to clean and sanitize.

DeCicco & Sons

"We have made every effort to adapt based on the best information currently available, and we will continue to do so," the company wrote in a note to customers. "During your next visit to DeCicco & Sons, you may notice some temporary changes."

Additionally, all employees are being required to wear gloves and are offering extra gloves to customers at stores.

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The company also placed lines of tape near the cash registers that are three feet apart so customers can stand a safe distance away from each other as the store works to contain the spread of the disease.

Dapolito said stores are also advising parents not to bring children with them while shopping for the time being.

To date, there are at least 175,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and at least 6,700 people have died in the outbreak.

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