A Northgate Market in La Habra opened early on Monday for seniors who have been having trouble buying groceries amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And starting Tuesday, all 41 locations will open early to accommodate older and disabled shoppers.
The supermarket, located at 1305 W Whittier Blvd, La Habra, CA 90631, was the only store in the chain that opened between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. so older people could avoid the panic-buying frenzy.
The store was planning on staying open for the general public until 8 p.m.
About 700 people took advantage of the early hours, store officials said, as the family-owned grocery chain store was freshly stocked.
“I wish all the stores would do this for senior citizens. Just give us a chance, because everybody is panic shopping that there’s no consideration for older people,” Northgate shopper Joyce Flores told KTLA. “It’s dangerous.”
“I’m excited and I want to thank Northgate for doing this for us because it helps us a lot,” another shopper, Dee Salazar said.
A woman who cares for her husband with Parkinson’s disease said she has been self isolating but was in need of groceries. She too was grateful for Northgate’s special hours on Monday.
Joshua Gonzalez, whose family owns and operates the grocery chain, told KTLA that Northgate hopes to continue opening stores earlier for seniors.
On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom encouraged people over the age of 65 to stay home to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Similarly, on Monday, President Donald Trump advised older people to stay home.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as L.A. County officials, ordered the closure of bars, dine-in restaurants and gyms.
Garcetti on Monday toured a food distribution center and reminded residents that there is plenty of food and toilet paper available and urged people not to hoard items like hand sanitizer.
All 41 stores will open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. officials announced in a news release Monday.
“We recognize the challenge facing seniors and other at-risk populations and we need to address them by providing them an opportunity to shop for essentials without fear or trepidation. Our customers and store associates’ safety are our number one concern,” Northgate Market co-president Miguel González said in the news release. “This is just one solution we are looking at to help Southern California residents sustain their health and nourishment needs.”
“We ask younger shoppers to allow seniors to step in front of the lines, so they get in and out as soon as possible,” González added.
The Vallarta Supermarket chain announced Monday that beginning Wednesday, all of the company’s more than 50 California stores would be open from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. exclusively for seniors, the disabled and pregnant women.