GEE AND URSULA

Safeway and Albertsons announce seniors-only shopping hours

Mar 17, 2020, 12:27 PM | Updated: Mar 18, 2020, 4:09 pm

Safeway, coronavirus...

Some very long lines at the Poulsbo Safeway. (User submitted)

(User submitted)

While more businesses around Seattle forced to close or alter their service plans during the coronavirus response, grocery stores remain open. The employees at these stores are working hard in front of and behind the scenes to restock the food and supplies we need.

For those more at risk for infection or serious illness, including the elderly, pregnant women, and anyone with underlying health conditions, it can be hard to leave the house even for grocery shopping, with a higher risk of encountering someone carrying the virus.

Washington grocery stores take steps to restock dwindling supplies

Karl Schroeder, president of the Seattle Division for Safeway and Albertsons, told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show that the company has determined hours per week that its stores could be open only for these high-risk groups.

Safeway and Albertsons stores across Washington state announced Tuesday afternoon that they will be reserving Tuesday and Thursday 7 – 9 a.m. for “at-risk shoppers,” including seniors, pregnant woman, those with compromised immune systems or people who have been advised to avoid leaving home.

Additionally, Safeway and Albertsons have offered to hire at least 2,000 people, though Schroeder thinks there is room to hire even more than that.

“I know there’s a lot of people whose business is temporarily closed,” he said. “We can take on lots of folks right now, and we’ve got a simplified hiring process. Really, if you apply today, you could be working tomorrow at most of our locations.”

If you or someone you know is in need of a job, Schroeder said to go to your local store and ask to see the store director or whoever is in charge. You can also apply online.

“You don’t need to be experienced,” he said. “We can find work for you if you’ve never worked in a grocery store before. But for those folks that do have experience, like maybe restaurant work, we’ve got delis, we’ve got bakeries, and we can put a lot of folks to work right now.”

Schroeder assured that there is food supply coming in every day, with truck drivers and warehouses working seven days a week to accommodate the increased demand, and employees stepping up to the challenge, often working long hours to help their community. All stores have increased their cleaning practices to keep employees and customers safe.

For more ways you can help, Schroeder recommends keeping a sense of calm as much as possible, and thanking the hard-working employees you see in stores. He also encouraged us all to take a “neighbors helping neighbors” approach by honoring any hours set up for seniors, shopping for others when we can, and donating at checkout stands in Safeway and Albertsons stores.

The money received in donations will go to organizations working to provide meals for students in need, helping recently unemployed people with benefits, and to organizations that need funding to transport supplies and food to local food banks and feeding programs. Safeway Albertsons has offered to match up to $3 million of customer donations.

“Anybody can [donate] at any check stand, even if it’s just your change,” Schroeder said. “I think working together, we can do a lot of good.”

“We are asking for customers to honor the reserved hours and we thank the community in advance for their compassion and understanding toward their neighbors and for helping us maintain these temporary operation guidelines.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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