On Tuesday, a Northern Irish supermarket opened one hour early to permit older customers to shop safely and get rid of the panic related to coronavirus-related buying, sparking similar moves south of the border in Ireland.
Saving time-slot for the Elderly
The west Belfast store of the Iceland chain of supermarkets is going to continue to begin its operation at 0800 GMT each day, saving the first hour for elderly customers, after tensed shoppers started rushing to grocery stores last week hustling to purchase essentials that have flown off shelves. Older shoppers, some with family members to support and one carrying a walking stick, queued up next to each other at the Kennedy shopping center before the shutters came up.
“I thought it was a great thing that they did this morning, it saved the rush and was nice and relaxed,” said Mary Heaney, a local resident after shopping for some groceries.
James McDonnell, who only had to buy few items, said he hoped other shops would do the same.
“There were too many pictures of older folk stalking aisles empty because everybody was in panic buying. This is a great idea,” he said.
Every step Helps!
Beyond the border in Ireland, where unlike Northern Ireland, schools, universities, and pubs have been closed; Lidl (German-owned discount chain) started imposing priority shopping for the older shoppers from 0900 to 1100 every day until further notice across each of its 163 stores.
Assuring priority queuing and additional assistance, Lidl requested asked other customers to respect the idea and plan their shopping trips accordingly as it may be unable to actively keep a check on compliance.
Tesco, one of Ireland’s three largest supermarket chains, is going to introduce dedicated time in-store three days a week for people over 65 and family care workers from Wednesday.
“Because now more than ever, every little helps,” the British retailer said on its Irish Twitter page, tweaking its famous slogan to fit the times.
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