The coronavirus pandemic has caused toilet paper shortages and long lines, but panic buying is not a new phenomenon and it certainly isn’t helping.
Walmart is now reserving an hour each day for pickup orders for shoppers most at risk for the coronavirus.
The retail giant announced Tuesday it is launching a “pickup hour” from 7 to 8 a.m. daily for customers over 60, those with disabilities and in high-risk groups for being vulnerable to COVID-19 as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
First responders also are included in Walmart’s new curbside pickup hour.
“Now more than ever, families are relying on our pickup service to help get quality, fresh groceries to their homes as safely as possible,” Tom Ward, Walmart senior vice president of customer product, said in a news release.
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Walmart lists the eligibility criteria of how to select a slot listed as “At Risk Only” at Walmart.com/grocery. The groups also can choose pickup times outside the early morning time.
On-demand grocery shopping for delivery and curbside have been popular as shoppers look to make fewer trips into stores. Services including Instacart and Shipt have been adding staff to keep up with demand.
Several stores including Walmart also have added senior shopping hours. Walmart’s weekly hour-long senior shopping event is every Tuesday for customers 60 and older and starts one hour before the retailer’s 5,000-plus U.S. stores open.
Walmart recently started limiting how many shoppers can enter stores, a move Target and other retailers have also made.
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