Grocery stores in Saskatchewan launch ‘senior shopping hour’ amid coronavirus pandemic

Grocery stores across Saskatchewan have launched a "Senior Shopping Hour" to protect those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. Joel Senick / Global News

Manusiu Lafontaine is one of many shoppers taking advantage of Regina’s Sherwood Co-op’s new “senior shopping hour” on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“I support businesses that are considerate towards the seniors,” she said. “They are the ones who really need it.”

Megan Dunn, Sherwood Co-op community engagement manager, said the Co-op saw a fairly busy hour during the first day of the special shopping hour.

Click to play video: 'Keeping seniors safe during the coronavirus outbreak' Keeping seniors safe during the coronavirus outbreak
Keeping seniors safe during the coronavirus outbreak – Mar 12, 2020

“Busier than we expected but this is probably because it was the first one,” she said. “The people that were able to come out this morning were very very appreciative and very thankful.”

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Originally, the three Sherwood Co-op stores in Regina had intended the hour for just seniors but Dunn explained there were others in the community who also needed to be included.

“We were having conversations with those who are immune-compromised or health issues that would warrant a little less exposure,” she said. “All the freshly sanitized surfaces allowed them to come in as well.”

READ MORE: Saskatchewan declares state of emergency as coronavirus concerns grow

A number of grocery stores across the country are offering shopping times dedicated to those aged 65 and older and individuals with compromised immune systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stores allow these individuals into a freshly sanitized and clean store before the general public to allow for extra social distancing to decrease the spread of the novel coronavirus and protect those who are most vulnerable.

Lafontaine said she is practising social distancing and this is the first time she has left her home in five days.

“Three weeks ago, I prepared,” she explained. “My husband and I are both seniors and we’re both very much aware and prepared ahead of time. When people were running to the store to get their stuff we did stay home.”

Some Co-op, Save on Foods, Superstore and Sobey’s stores are also offering limited shopping hours to help protect their customers across the province.

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READ MORE: Saskatchewan doctors beg businesses to shut down to prevent spread of COVID-19

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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