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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.

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. At the same time, Dollar General announced via press release that it will amend store hours and dedicate the first hour of shopping each day to senior customers.

The Safeway 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.

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

"We are asking our customers to respect these special hours for those who are most at risk in our communities," Sankaran continued. "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."

Dollar General, including its Gervais and Hubbard locations, implemented the changes Tuesday, March 17.

"In keeping with the Company's mission of Serving Others, Dollar General wants to provide these at-risk customers with the ability to purchase the items they need and want at the beginning of each day to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods," leaders at the company wrote in a press release. "Other customers are encouraged to plan their shopping trips around this window of time to allow the most susceptible customers in our communities the ability to shop during the first hour that stores are open."

Additionally, all Dollar General stores will close one hour earlier than usual to allow employees to clean and restock inventory. The Gervais and Hubbard stores will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

"During these unprecedented times, Dollar General is diligently working to meet the ongoing needs of our customers and communities. We are proud to live our mission and provide customers with everyday low prices on the household essentials that are used and replenished most often," said Todd Vasos, Dollar General's CEO.

— Emily LIndstrand contributed to this story.

PMG FILE PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Dollar General will close an hour earlier to allow for store cleaning. The store will also dedicate their first hour each day to senior customers.

Early shopping

Local Safeway and Dollar General locations will dedicate its opening hours to at-risk and senior customers, respectively.

Woodburn Safeway

1550 N. Pacific Hwy.

Hours: 6 a.m.-11 p.m.

Hours for at-risk shoppers:

Tuesday and Thursday, 7-9 a.m.

Hubbard Dollar General

3624 Pacific Hwy. 99E

Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Hours for senior shoppers: Every day, 8-9 a.m.

Gervais Dollar General

415 Douglas Ave. NE

Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Hours for senior shoppers: Every day, 8-9 a.m.

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