As Americans stock pantry staples and prepare to stay indoors during the COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic, supermarket and grocery store chains have reduced their normal operating hours.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated March 16, 2020

Updated as of Monday, March 23 at 9:45 a.m.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a global disruption, and to see evidence, most people only have to look as far as their local grocery store. Coronavirus stockpiling has left supplies depleted and shelves barren. A butcher at 99 Ranch Market in Corona, California, even provided the L.A. Times with this emblematic quote featuring a much-needed touch of levity: “We’ve never sold out of pork butt before.”

Meanwhile, these supermarkets themselves are in a difficult position: Not only do they need additional time to restock products, but as one of the remaining public hubs that people are not actively trying to avoid, the need to clean and sanitize is also of the utmost importance. For this reason, chains have been limiting their store hours to give employees more time to handle these important duties. Some have even taken the measure of opening early for elderly and other at-risk customers to shop before the crowds arrive.

Many customers wear gloves while shopping at a supermarket in Saugus, Massachusetts on March 13, 2020.
JOSEPH PREZIOSO / Contributor/Getty Images

Here’s a list of major supermarkets that have publically announced changes to their hours due to the coronavirus so far:

Walmart

On Wednesday, March 18, the company announced all stores had been scaled back to operating from 7 a.m. to 8:30  p.m. local time (stores that previously opened later than 7 a.m. would continue to open at their usual hour). Additionally, between March 24 and April 28, stores will open one hour early on Tuesdays to shoppers over 60 years old. Pharmacies and vision centers will also be open during the hour. Item limits have been placed on paper products, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, wipes, formula and baby food.

Kroger

Kroger is America’s largest grocer—operating thousands of markets over a dozen brand names including Baker’s, City Market, Dillons, Fry’s Food Stores, Food 4 Less, Foods Co., Fred Meyer, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Jay-C Food Stores, King Soopers, Mariano’s, Metro Market, Owen’s Market, Pay-Less Super Markets, Pick ‘N Save, QFC, Ralphs, Ruler Foods, and Smith’s Food and Drug. The grocery giant has adjusted hours across many, but not all of its stores—and keeping track of so many brands isn’t easy. Thankfully, Kroger has a page dedicated to listing updated store hours: kroger.com/i/coronavirus-update/store-information.

Update: Some Kroger stores in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee have region-wide reduced hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Albertsons

Albertsons is another major grocer operating stores under nearly 20 names, including Acme, Amigos, Andonico’s, Carrs, Haggen, Jewel Osco, Lucky, Market Street, Pavilions, Plated, Randalls, Safeway, Shaws, Star Market, Tom Thumb, United, and Vons. In a news release about the coronavirus on Friday (March 13), the company didn’t mention any proposed store hour changes. However, USA Today reported yesterday that stores are opening one hour later and closing one hour earlier than normal. This policy may vary across locations and brand, so check your local store for more info.

Update: Safeway and Albertsons announced reduced hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and senior and at-risk shopper hours from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Additionally, checkout stands have been outfitted with "sneeze guards" to protect employees and customers.

Publix

On Friday (March 13), the Florida-based chain Publix announced that starting March 14, stores and pharmacies would close companywide at 8 p.m. “until further notice.” On March 19, the company announced it would offer senior shopping hours for customers 65 and older on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

H-E-B

The Texas-based chain updated its store hours and operation page on March 13, explaining, “To better serve our customers and increase product availability, all H-E-B stores and Central Market will close tonight at 8 p.m. Beginning Sunday, March 15, all stores will open at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. until further notice. This also includes Joe V’s and Mi Tienda locations.”

Stop & Shop

In an announcement update on Saturday (March 14), Stop & Shop wrote, “In order to allow more time for our associates to unload deliveries, stock shelves, and better serve you throughout the day, we are adjusting our hours to 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at most stores beginning Monday, March 16, until further notice. (There may be some exceptions. Please visit your local store location for details. New hours will also be posted on our website Monday.)”

Wegmans

As of Tuesday, March 17, stores will only be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sam’s Club

Yesterday (March 15), Sam’s Club announced that effective tomorrow (Tuesday), all “in-club shopping hours” would be adjusted to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, Monday to Saturday. Sunday hour remain the same (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), as do Club Pickup times and Optical, Pharmacy, and Fuel hours.

Whole Foods

As of Tuesday, March 17, Whole Food announced stores would be limiting their hours on a store-by-store basis. Additionally, all U.S. and Canada stores will open to seniors 60 and older one hour before opening to the public. Find your local store's adjusted hours here: www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores

Trader Joe’s

On Saturday (March 14), Trader Joe’s announced, “Beginning Monday, March 16th and until further notice, all Trader Joe’s stores will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. to support our Crew Members in taking care of one another and our customers.”

Aldi

In an undated COVID-19 update, Aldi wrote, “Some stores will be temporarily closed or have limited hours. At this time, we cannot provide specific location information.”

Target

As of Wednesday, March 18, all Target stores will close no later than 9 p.m. (stores that normally close before 9 p.m. will continue to close at their normal hours). Target has added a weekly window for seniors to shop on Wednesdays, reserving the first opening hour vulnerable customers. Find more information on your local store's adjusted hours here: www.target.com/store-locator/find-stores

Dollar Tree/Dollar General

Effective Wednesday, March 18, all stores will close at 8 p.m. local time. Stores are also limiting the first open hour to senior shoppers only each day.

Costco

Starting Tuesday, March 24, Costco stores will offer shopping hours for seniors 60 years and older from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

Related: How to Shop for Food Safely During the Coronavirus Outbreak

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