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The store says Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 to 9 a.m. will be dedicated to shoppers most at risk of the novel coronavirus

PMG: CLAIRE COLBY - Shoppers at risk of coronavirus will have a few hours to themselves at local Safeway and Albertsons locations.Seniors and those most at-risk of catching COVID-19 may be understandably wary of trekking outdoors to local shops, but some supermarkets are setting aside special shopping hours for people most susceptible to the disease.

Albertsons and Safeway stores nationwide are setting aside dedicated shopping hours from 7 to 9 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for vulnerable shoppers to obtain groceries.

The hours are open to pregnant women, seniors and people with compromised immune systems, who have been told to avoid leaving home as much as possible.

As health officials have urged people to keep their distance from others, grocery stores have been hotbeds of community fathering, with long lines and shoppers desperate for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other necessities.

"We are sensitive to the fact that everyone wants to make sure they have the items they need, and we also know that everyone wants their neighbors to stay safe and healthy, too," said Albertsons Chief Executive Vivek Sankaran. "We are asking our customers to respect these special hours for those who are most at risk in our communities. We thank our customers in advance for their compassion and understanding toward their neighbors and friends, and in helping us maintain this temporary operations guideline."

Albertsons, which owns Safeway, operate more than 2,200 stores nationwide.

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