Specific shopping hours with fewer triggering sounds and lights will be available at “quite a few” Safeway and Sobeys grocery stores in Edmonton on Monday.
The pilot program, which has already been implemented at stores in other parts of Canada, is meant to provide a calmer, less bright and less noisy environment for customers with sensory sensitivity, including those with autism.
A spokesperson for the company said these changes will include reducing 50 per cent of the lighting in stores and silencing or limiting triggering noises like PA systems and scanners. Grocery carts will not be collected during these special hours, since that activity can produce loud noises.
The stores will have these sensory friendly hours on Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The spokesperson couldn’t provide an exact number of Safeway and Sobeys stores that would be bringing in the program, but said some locations would be doing so as early as Sept. 30.
Flo Chapman said the reaction to the sensory friendly hours at other store locations, in B.C. for instance, has been very positive.
— More to come…