Health officials say best if seniors stay at home
Stores across the county are doing their part to give seniors a chance to get their groceries.
Some grocery stores and pharmacies have been implementing senior-only shopping hours to help them avoid large crowds of people.
Governments have announced measures, including the closure of restaurants to diners and limiting large gatherings of people, in attempts to contain the spread of COVID-19. Seniors are among those who are susceptible to the virus.
Last Thursday morning, Carl Booker was taking advantage of the senior shopping hour at Wilkinson’s Your Independent Grocer in Delhi.
Booker has been able to cope with the lack of items available in the stores across the county.
“My wife has always shopped for two months in advance,” said Booker.
Booker added he and his wife aren’t travellers so they have been able to stay in Norfolk and limit any exposure to the virus. To date, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Norfolk.
“At 70 years old I’ve got to be safe,” he said. “I hope it goes away pretty soon though.”
Most Loblaw grocery stores and Shoppers Drug Mart locations across Canada are participating in these senior shopping hours.
“In these uncertain times, we all need to do what we can to protect the most vulnerable,” A Loblaw public relations representative said in an email to the Reformer. “We are also taking action to ensure the best possible service and safety for customers and colleagues including retraining colleagues on safety practices and instructing them to stay away from work if they are ill.”
Wilkinson’s in Delhi, and Real Canadian Superstore in Simcoe are all offering an hour a day just for seniors to shop from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., No Frills in Port Dover is offering an hour from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for senior only shopping, and Shoppers Drug Mart in Simcoe is offering the first hour of operation each day to seniors only. But check with the stores before heading out to make sure hours haven’t changed.
While these hours have been put into place with the seniors’ interest in mind, Haldimand-Norfolk Medical Officer of Health Shanker Nesathurai believes it is still best for seniors to stay home.
“Seniors are among the most vulnerable to serious complications arising from COVID-19 infection,” Nesathurai said in a press release on Thursday. “That’s why I – along with public health officials across Ontario – am asking them to stay home as much as possible and to avoid close contact with others.”
Nesathurai suggests seniors take advantage of food delivery services provided by some stores. If this is not an option he asks for neighbours or family members of seniors to offer to do the shopping.
If there is no other option, Nesathurai suggests to the seniors to stay at least six feet away from other shoppers, wipe down shopping carts or baskets before use, and to avoid repeat trips.
“I spoke with a group of local clergy who I called on to make alternate worship services, and encouraged them to reach out to seniors in their congregations to provide various kinds of support,” Nesathurai said. “I’m confident that, by taking these measures, local seniors will be able to protect themselves against the spread of COVID-19.”