Trader Joe’s has dropped senior hours at many of its 515-plus stores.
The specialty supermarket, like the majority of the nation’s major grocery stores, started designating special shopping hours in March 2020 to help those the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention then considered most vulnerable and at-risk for COVID-19.
Trader Joe’s originally set aside the first hour each day at all stores for 60 and older and customers with disabilities. The hours were later reduced to twice a week – usually Wednesday and Sunday – at most stores with some variations.
But recently, hundreds of its stores stopped offering the designated time, the company confirmed to USA TODAY.
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“We continue to offer senior hours in areas where it’s mandated,” Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel said in an email. “Anyone in need of special accommodations can always speak to their store for assistance.”
As of Friday, USA TODAY found senior hours are still taking place at Trader Joe’s in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. While not statewide, dozens of California Trader Joe’s stores designate the first hour to seniors and vulnerable shoppers at least two days a week.
Each store’s hours can be found on the store locator at TraderJoes.com.
California has the most Trader Joe’s in the nation with more than a third of its stores. Many of the California stores with special hours are in the southern part of the state including in Los Angeles.
Costco, Walmart, Target and Aldi are among retailers still promoting special senior hours on their websites. Hours and criteria vary by location.
But as more Americans are vaccinated, it’s possible other stores also will reduce senior hours.
As of Friday afternoon, about 45.3% of people in the US have received at least one COVID-19 shot and about 33.4% of people are fully vaccinated, according to USA TODAY’s vaccine tracker.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko