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Grocery stores adjust hours to allow for workers to stock shelves, sanitize buildings

Photo by Jake Przytarski Hy-Vee employee Bradin Wyffels stocks shelves Thursday morning. Hy-Vee has adjusted its hours at the Marshall store to allow for stocking and sanitizing.

MARSHALL — Grocery stores in the city adjusted hours of operation this week as they continue to face the growing challenge to keep shelves stocked with goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hy-Vee, Aldi and Walmart all adjusted their hours this week.

The Hy-Vee grocery store is now serving customers from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Dining areas remain closed during this time, but Hy-Vee convenience store hours remain unchanged.

“These shortened hours will allow employees additional time to clean and sanitize all areas of the store, as well as restock the items in highest demand,” the Hy-Vee corporation said in a press release Tuesday. “Operating with shorter hours also will allow employees additional time to care for their families and loved ones.”

Also, Hy-Vee now reserves one hour of shopping time each day of the week between 7-8 a.m. for customers considered “high-risk.” The move comes as a result of growing concern about the spread of the virus.

“We are extremely concerned about the spread of this virus and want to respond to our customers who are at higher risk of serious illness by offering them a time where they may feel a bit safer shopping in our stores,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, CEO and president in a press release.

Customers included in the at-risk group are individuals over the age of 60, expectant mothers and anyone with an underlying health condition that makes him/her more susceptible to serious illness.

The Hy-Vee Pharmacy within the store will also adhere to the reserved hour of service for at-risk groups between the hours of 7-8 a.m., seven days a week.

“We know that our customers are facing some very challenging times right now, and we want to do all we can to help them,” Edeker said. “We hope this new reserved shopping hour helps our customers feel a bit more secure while we work together as a community to help keep everyone healthy and safe.”

In addition to the measure aimed at serving at-risk groups, Hy-Vee has temporarily banned the use of reusable bags and is installing temporary protective windows at checkout.

Aldi supermarkets nationwide, including here in Marshall, have also adjusted their hours and are now operating from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. seven days a week in order to intensify cleaning practices.

“To help maintain a clean and safe environment for you and our employees, we are intensifying cleaning practices at all of our stores, offices and warehouses,” the Aldi CEO Jason Hart said in a press release. “We have dedicated more time to sanitization procedures, focused on the most common touch points.  As an Aldi customer, your shopping experience may look a little different as we continue to navigate this difficult situation and we thank you for your understanding.”

The Walmart in Marshall is the latest to adjust its hours and will now serve customers from 7 a.m.- 8:30 p.m. seven days a week.

All three grocery stores have had issues keeping cleaning products on the shelves. Walmart, Aldi and Hy-Vee were completely out of toilet paper on Thursday afternoon, while paper towels and disinfectant sprays were limited in availability.

Non-perishable food items like canned soups were also in limited quantity across the three stores. As a result, Aldi implemented a limit of four canned goods per person, in addition to limits on dried pastas. Limits on bread and bagels, paper towels and toilet paper (when available) were also seen at Aldi.

Bottled water remains available in large supply across the three stores, while meat products and eggs are running low.

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