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Grocery stores open 15 minutes to an hour early to accommodate senior citizens during COVID-19 pandemic


Last updated 3/26/2020 at 11:56am

Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

A group of senior citizens form a line outside Stater Bros. Markets, 30712 Benton Road, in Winchester for grocery shopping during a specified time before normal store hours for those who are more at risk of COVID-19, the coronavirus, Friday, March 20.

Lexington Howe


Grocery stores around the region are changing some store hours to allow seniors to shop early, so that they can beat the rush and get the supplies they need. Fallbrook, Temecula, Murrieta and surrounding areas have posted fliers in-person and online detailing which stores will be accommodating the new hour changes.

Albertsons grocery stores across the state, including Fallbrook and stores throughout the Temecula Valley and surrounding communities, are offering early shopping hours for seniors, at-risk populations, those who may have compromised immune systems and pregnant women from 7-9 a.m. The days vary by location. While some Albertsons have a minimum requirement of offering special hours Tuesdays and Thursdays, Albertsons on Temecula Parkway will have special hours Mondays through Fridays. More information on Albertsons' updates during this time can be found at

Major Market, 845 Main Ave., in Fallbrook does not currently have senior hours, but the grocery store is offering a senior express lane only for seniors and is currently working with the Foundation for Senior Care to provide delivery.

Grocery Outlet, 1101 S. Main Ave., and El Toro Market, 337 N. Main Ave. in Fallbrook is currently not offering early senior hours.

Other shops like WinCo, 40435 Winchester Road, in Temecula have implemented additional policies for customers, only allowing 20 people to enter at a time while 20 people exit, so that the store can maintain a safe number of customers inside. They have special hours for seniors 60 and up, vulnerable populations and WinCo employee owners from 6-7:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting the week of March 21.

Target, 41040 California Oaks Road, in Murrieta will also be open early for one day a week, Wednesdays from 8-9 a.m.

Organic Roots, 40458 Winchester Road, in Temecula is open every day for an extra hour for seniors from 8-9 a.m. for those 65 and older and asks that shoppers don't travel in groups. The grocery store also announced they will stop all promotional sales until further notice. More updates are available online at

Vons, 29530 Rancho California Road, in Temecula has special hours for seniors from 7-9 a.m., and Tom's Farms, 23900 Temescal Canyon Road, in Temescal Valley has special hours for seniors from 8-9 a.m. for those 55 and older.

Starting March 24, Costco Wholesale announced in a statement that they will be opening early for seniors 60 and older as well, from 8-9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sam's Club is not currently offering early senior hours.

Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Stater Bros. employees pass out free water bottles to seniors waiting in the line to shop for groceries during a specified time before normal store hours for those who are more at risk of the coronavirus.

At the Stater Bros. Market, 31813 Temecula Parkway, in Temecula, the store will begin opening at 7:45 a.m., 15 minutes earlier than the 8 a.m. start time for those 65 and older. Ashley Valenzuela, a Stater Bros. Markets employee, said that while it isn't much time, it has had some benefits for seniors.

"It's helped them get their paper products," Valenzuela said.

Stater Bros. Markets also announced on fliers posted outside their stores that they will be hosting this opportunity at all 169 locations. More COVID-19 updates from the company can be found at

Albertsons, 31960 Temecula Parkway, in Temecula is also working to keep the lines manageable by putting red tape down on the floor from the start of the register toward the beginning of each aisle. Each tape strip is placed 6 feet apart, so that customers can practice social distancing. Also, a glass screen has been put up between the cashier and customer.

Lexington Howe can be reached by email at


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