How are Philadelphia grocery stores responding to COVID-19?
To combat the shortages that come with panic buying, many stores are making sure those that need the goods are getting them.
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A serious by-product of the COVID-19 pandemic in the digital age is panic buying. With headlines swirling on social media about the end of the world, many people go into doomsday mode.
The result is they buy way more than their average weekly amount of food and other household essentials like cleaning supplies and toiletries, in fear that it could be a long time before they can go shopping again.
For the record, grocery stores are designated an essential, life-sustaining business, so they’re not closing. Still, many are struggling to keep some essential items stocked because of panic buying.
In response, most grocery stores have implemented some sort of limitation on hours of operation, the amount of certain items that can be purchased at one time, or the number of people in the store at one time.
A few have taken further steps to serve those most at-risk, offering exclusive hours for the elderly and immunocompromised.
They are as follows:
GIANT Food Stores- Every day between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m.
Acme- Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Find your local Acme here.
Whole Foods- Every day an hour before regular operating hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Find your local Whole Foods here.
Walmart- Every Tuesday an hour before regular operating hours of 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Find your local Walmart here.
Target- Every Wednesday an hour before regular operating hours. Be sure to check when the store opens.
Find your local Target here.
Dollar General- The first hour of operation every day. Be sure to check when the store opens.
Find your local Dollar General here.
Save A Lot- One priority hour, call your local store for details.
Find your Save A Lot here.
The Rochester, New York-based grocery store chain has locations up and down the east coast, including South Jersey and the Philadelphia suburbs.
All stores in Brooklyn, New York and New Jersey are operating between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. Those in the rest of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, and North Carolina are operating 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
A purchase limit has also been placed on certain items.
The Fresh Grocer/ShopRite
Per the Philadelphia-based grocery store chain’s website, some stores could be operating on modified schedules in order to keep up with demand. For updates on store hours, customers are urged to check in on the social media pages of their local Fresh Grocer.
Find your local Fresh Grocer here. There are locations in Philadelphia, Upper Darby and New Jersey.
Certain products are also limited to two per customer.
Stores across the U.S. will be operating 9 a.m to 7 p.m., but some stores will be on alternate schedules to meet demand. Be sure to call ahead for times.
Find your local ALDI here.
Di Bruno Bros
Owner Bill Mignucci told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he is in daily communication with University of Pennsylvania Dr. Stephen Gluckman for health and safety advice.
He is “looking at” potential hours for seniors only, while also opening an hour later and closing an hour earlier for deep cleaning sessions.
According to posts on Facebook and Instagram, the local grocery store chain is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
A cleaning service has also been hired to perform deep cleaning after hours.
Find your local Cousin’s Supermarket here.
Your Local Bodega or Corner Store
Yes, your local bodega or corner store is allowed to stay open as an essential, life-sustaining business, making up 66% of all food retailers in the city. Be sure to call or check-in for hours.
Some of the previously mentioned grocery store chains have their own delivery services and will be included here. Many mobile food delivery providers have said on social media that COVID-19’s shutdown has led to record sales and demand for their service. As such, a good practice is to order your groceries well ahead of time and expect a longer wait than advertised.
Common threads across all include: opting for the non-contact deliveries (leaving groceries at the doorstep) and eliminating cash payments or signatures.
CEO Apoorva Mehta confirmed in a Medium post that the past few weeks have been the “busiest in Instacart’s history.”
In response, the grocery delivery service, which partners with food retailers like ALDI, Acme, GIANT, ShopRite, Fresh Grocer, Wegmans and Target, plans to add 300,000 to its full-time service shoppers to its workforce in the next three months to meet demands.
Both restaurant delivery services are offering up to two weeks of financial assistance to couriers who have contracted COVID-19. Eligible applicants can submit here.
DoorDash is also in the process of shipping 1 million sets of hand sanitizer and sanitary gloves to couriers.
For restaurants, DoorDash is charging zero commissions for 30 days in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, adding 100,000 new partners to its Dash Pass ($0 deliveries for customers, but higher sales numbers for participating businesses) at no cost and earmarking $20 million for further merchant marketing capabilities.
The total business goal for all participating restaurants is $200 million.
In addition to offering up to 14 days of paid sick leave for employees, GoPuff has also dedicated $1 million towards orders from hospital workers.
Some warehouses are also adjusting hours to between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in some markets. Those operating 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 24/7 will stay on those schedules.
Like GoPuff, DoorDash and Caviar, the delivery service is also offering members of its delivery fleet up to two weeks of paid sick leave or enough to fund their medical expenses if diagnosed with COVID-19. More information is available here.
In partnering with Amazon, the grocery store is working to provide Prime members with two-hour door delivery and door drop grocery services in 2,000 cities and towns across the country.
The GIANT Direct mobile grocery service is running with “Contactless” delivery (See non-contact deliveries above)
Its online ordering service is adding staff for the uptick in demand and a “drop at your door” delivery protocol.
The Wegmans Meals 2GO mobile grocery delivery service is being offered at select stores. Through DoorDash, no-contact delivery can be selected.
As of now, Acme is still offering its online grocery order service, implementing a non-contact delivery policy.