COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Shoppers vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID-19 said Thursday morning that a store's special early shopping hour helped them find supplies.
Hy-Vee and other stores announced Wednesday that they are reserving one hour of shopping time each day, from 7 to 8 a.m., for customers considered “high-risk” for COVID-19. The disease caused by novel coronavirus has proven to be most deadly to seniors and people with underlying health issues.
State and local officials said Wednesday that a Boone County resident in their 60s was the first Missouri death from COVID-19. The person was diagnosed with travel-related COVID-19 on Tuesday and had been self-isolating at home. Officials did not release other details about the patient.
Customers who are 60 and older, expecting mothers and anyone with underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to serious illness are able to take advantage of this extra time.
Hy-Vee spokeswoman Tina Potthoff said this extra hour was put in place to make sure their high-risk customers were able to shop and feel more secure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think this is very important for seniors," said Hy-Vee shopper Mary Loftus. "There was a pretty good group of us in there who really needed to catch up.”
Many high-risk customers told ABC 17 News that they’ve had challenges getting to grocery stores and finding the supplies they need.
"This morning I was picking up supplies that I could not get yesterday," Loftus said. "Toilet paper, cleaning vinegar or Clorox wipes. So I was able to find those today.”
Loftus said she didn't realize these products would be sold out until she saw many empty shelves in Walmart last week.
“I was just thinking they were emptying the shelves and we’re going to restock differently," Loftus said.
Hy-Vee is among several stores that started closing early beginning last week for deep cleaning and restocking. The store now closes at 8 p.m.