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Hy-Vee, Fareway reserve first hour of shopping for at-risk customers

T-R photo by Lana Bradstream The Marshalltown Fareway at 8:30 a.m. Friday had plenty of cars in the lot. The store set aside 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for shoppers who are most at risk from COVID-19.

Grocery stores in Marshalltown are making changes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it be changing hours of operation or limiting how many specific products customers can buy, the businesses are changing with the rapidly evolving situation.

Emily Toribio, corporate outreach and communications manager for Fareway said the new shopping hours at the Marshalltown town is 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the first hour reserved for customers age 65 and older, expecting mothers and people with chronic or underlying health conditions.

“We have asked our customers to be respectful and responsible and leave this time for those that fit those demographics,” Toribio said.

Fareway has implemented some limitations on how many certain products someone can buy at one time. Toribio said each customer can have no more than two dozen eggs and only one package of toilet paper.

One thing that Fareway is continuing is having employees courtesy carry groceries out to vehicles.

Not far away from Fareway, Hy-Vee has also dedicated the first hour of shopping to the same demographic. The only difference is they have expanded the elderly category to include everyone 60 years of age or older.

“We saw what other retailers were implementing,” said Ivy Sprague, communications manager for Hy-Vee.

The shopping hours set aside for certain customers will last for the duration.

Everyone else can shop from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. After Hy-Vee closes each day, additional cleaning and sanitation is done.

“This is uncharted territory,” Sprague said. “But we are in the Midwest where everybody heads to Hy-Vee before a storm but we have never seen it to this level. Every store is experiencing this volume. It is unprecedented. The public have been really tremendous during this time. They are being so patient and grateful.”

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Contact Lana Bradstream at lbradstream@timesrepublican.com

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