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Tips for going to the grocery store during COVID-19

If you are at high risk of getting ill from the coronavirus local chains have set up specific hours for you.

MAINE, USA — Many things in our daily lives have changed in the past few days, but one thing has remained the same: eating

Here are some tips to grocery shop these days:

  • Go to the store when it's not crowded or in the allotted 'senior' hours if you fit into that category
  • Clean your grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe
  • Social-distance between other shoppers
  • If you want, you can disinfect your groceries when you get home
  • Buy more to avoid frequent trips to the store
  • CDC doesn't recommend that you wear a mask or gloves, but you can if you want.

Chain supermarkets in Maine that have set up hours for seniors and at-risk members of the community:

  • Shaws: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. - 9 a.m.
  • Hannaford: Tuesday through Thursday from 6 a.m. - 7 a.m.
  • Walmart: Tuesday from 6 a.m. - 7 a.m..
  • Target: Wednesday from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m..
  • Dollar General: The first hour of each day for seniors and at-risk members.
We're so proud of our Target teams working to keep stores open for guests during this challenging time. Read more about our latest efforts including new reduced store hours to add time for cleaning &...

"And it's just gotten progressively busier busier busier to the point that we've been running around for 13-14 hours a day," said Brandon Kenney, the Brewer IGA  store manager and co-owner.

Despite reassurances by the government that supply lines have not been affected by the coronavirus, people are still over-buying... and it's all stores can do to keep up.

RELATED: VERIFY: Fact-checking this week's coronavirus rumors and claims

Our customers are also our neighbors and friends. We care deeply abo... ut our communities and we're committed to supporting your health and well-being, especially during times when access to food and medicine matter more. Please read this letter from our president, Mike Vail.

"Trying to keep things on the shelf as much as we can, but we are struggling to get it on the shelf fast enough before people are taking it right off again," said Kenney.

Employees at IGA in Brewer are taking the CDC guidelines seriously, wearing gloves, there are masks available for the employees that want to use them, and hand sanitizer stations throughout the supermarket. 

A note to our valued customers and neighbors, In addition to this m... essage regarding reserved hours for our senior citizen and at-risk community members, effective Wednesday 3/18, the hours of operation for all stores will be 7 AM - 8 PM Sunday through Saturday.

"We are trying to get in the habit of every hour every two hours doing a complete clean up of all of the surfaces and just trying to stay on top of that to ensure we are keeping the risk to a minimum," said Kenney.

RELATED: MaineHealth launches daycare directory to help its employees during coronavirus outbreak

With the outbreak, some members of the community can be affected more seriously than others.

That's why some chain supermarkets like Shaws, Hannaford, Target and Walmart have decided to set specific hours for them.

"Senior only" grocery times... where there is fewer people inside stores. 

"As far as milk, bread, chicken, meat," said Kenney.

 Kenney says he doesn't think supermarkets like IGA will run out.

Credit: NCM

"Things like paper towel and toilet paper...we are kind of at the mercy of our warehouse, so those things maybe a little bit more limited and allocated so everybody gets a little bit of it," said Kenney.

Right now, the CDC is not recommending that people wear gloves or masks when they go to the store. But health experts recommend to -- reduce your risk -- make fewer trips to the store... making sure you get all that you need.

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