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Local Grocery Stores Make Changes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

by on March 16, 2020 4:50 PM

At least one local grocery chain and all local Walmarts will undergo changes in regular service hours as the nation continues to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In the State College area both Wegman's and Walmart will shift hours of operation to clean and disinfect their stores in the region.

"We are changing our hours of operation to better serve our customers and communities," A press release from Wegman's reads. "This additional time will be used to clean our stores and restock products. Our temporary store hours are 6 a.m. – 11 p.m."

All stores have limited the number of purchases a customer can make relative to several high-value items such as toilet paper and soup.

In the meanwhile both local Walmart chains will experience modified hours, a change that was put in place on Sunday. Walmart will open at 6 a.m. and close at 11 p.m.

A Walmart press release states that the change is "To better support our associates and serve our customers, we will adjust our operating hours beginning Sunday, March 15. Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice. This will help ensure associates are able to stock the products our customers are looking for and to perform cleaning and sanitizing. Stores currently operating under more reduced hours (for example they regularly close at 10 p.m. or open at 7 a.m.) will keep their current hours of operation."

According to company websites, neither Giant or Weis Markets have any immediate plans to change store hours. Weis has temporarily shutdown its Weis 2 Go online ordering with curbside pickup and home delivery but online ordering can continue at www.weismarkets.com/shipt.

Giant offers "contactless" shopping and delivery options, and emphasized its cleaning procedures in a letter from company president Nicholas Bertram.

"Our existing cleaning procedures have been reinforced with team members, and we’re focused on high-touch areas including shopping carts and baskets, checkouts, self-service food stations, and fuel pumps," Bertram wrote. "In an abundance of caution, we’re also suspending food sampling programs and in-store sampling events."

Most stores have also implemented purchase limits on high-demand items such bath tissue, disinfecting cleaners and hand sanitizers, among others.

On Monday afternoon announcement by Gov. Tom Wolf that a statewide shutdown of all non-essential businesses in Pennsylvania for two weeks would begin at midnight on Monday.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and medical facilities will remain open and municipal services will continue. All non-essential stores are to close, including bars and restaurants, except for takeout and delivery.

"This isn't a decision I take lightly at all," Wolf said. "It's one that I'm making because medical experts believe it is the only way we can prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed."



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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