- As a result of the coronavirus, Walmart in April instituted special shopping hours exclusively for seniors.
- Some seniors, however, believe their designated shopping window from 7 a.m to 8 a.m is too early.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in early March, there was a brief period of time where people started behaving as if a zombie apocalypse right around the corner. For whatever reason, stores started to see droves of people stocking up on all sorts of items like toilet paper and paper towels. The resulting pandemonium, along with the fact that elderly people were at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus, prompted many stores to institute special shopping hours for the elderly to allow them to shop safely in a low-stress environment.
Walmart was perhaps the biggest chain to implement this type of change. Back in April, Walmart announced that shopping between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on certain days would be reserved for shoppers above the age of 60 and other individuals with a high risk of experiencing severe coronavirus symptoms. In many stores, the special shopping hours were only available on Tuesdays.
“These are extraordinary times, and we are constantly looking for ways we can help deliver that same peace of mind to all our customers, particularly those who are most at-risk,” Walmart senior VP Tom Ward said at the time.
Now, as many states begin to reopen, Walmart said its adjusted scheduling will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Some seniors, however, aren’t happy with the announcement. As detailed in an eye-opening post from Inc., many seniors find the “senior hour” shopping window to be too early in the morning:
“I’d have to wake up at 4:30 get dressed and out the door by 5:30 in order to arrive at Walmart by 6:00,” wrote one reader, who is 84 years old and who called the Walmart idea “idiotic,” since it’s only one day per week. “I don’t drive in the dark for your safety.”
Another reader wrote: “I am a tail-end Baby Boomer and over age 60. While it’s admirable that Walmart (and other retailers) are opening early for ‘seniors’ and those with compromised immune systems/other health issues, I will not be getting up at 5 a.m. to go shopping!”
Other seniors, meanwhile, have complained that some stores aren’t enforcing the rules and that younger shoppers are allowed inside during seniors-only hours.
As it stands now, Walmart hasn’t indicated if it plans to adjust its schedule to better accommodate seniors. Ideally, we’ll eventually come up with a vaccine so this entire back-and-forth essentially becomes moot. To that end, Dr. Anthony Fauci seems to think an effective vaccine can be developed, but he has articulated that it may not arrive until 2021 at the absolute earliest.
In the interim, states are opening back up and we’re seeing some areas experiencing a worrisome spike in new coronavirus cases. Put simply, it may be some time before we can return to a normal way of life in any capacity.