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‘Seniors-only’ hours introduced in shops to ease fears of our elderly

March 24th, 2020 5:05 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

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A DUNMANWAY supermarket has been praised after it initiated a dedicated ‘Senior Sunday’ shopping time for their elderly customers in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

Sam’s Gala on the Square held their first ‘Senior Sunday’ last Sunday which ran from 2pm to 4pm with the aim of allowing elderly customers to come in and shop.

Speaking to The Southern Star, Colm O’Sullivan, operations manager of Clifford’s & Sons Retail Group which runs Sam’s Gala, said he was prompted to do something after he saw the panic buying in supermarkets across the country last week.

‘My parents would be the same age as many of these elderly shoppers so it was distressing to see a picture of an elderly lady on social media trying to do her shopping,’ said Colm.

‘We immediately implemented a two-per-person policy on most products in the store and calm was restored almost straight away. Then we were thinking what else we could do and spoke to our elderly customers who told me that Sunday is a day for relaxing, so we decided this would be the best day for the designated shopping.’

Colm said it was a great success as other shoppers respected it and all the staff said it was amazing how appreciative the elderly shoppers were of this dedicated two-hour shopping experience.

‘It was very relaxed and we gave them tea, coffee and biscuits. We had Lyric FM playing and it was a social occasion for many of them and they felt appreciated – at the same time they got their shopping done.’

Colm said they would continue with this initiative due to the positive feedback they have received from the public.

‘It’s only small things, but they matter to some people and I hope other supermarkets will follow suit,’ added Colm.

The store has also laid out ‘social distancing’ on their shop floor with luminous boxes marking the safe distance people should be from each other and they are offering deliveries to their elderly customers.

Meanwhile, Scally’s SuperValu in Clonakilty has introduced a similar daily initiative from 9am to 10am for elderly shoppers who may require extra time and help to complete their shopping.

They are also asking all those intending to shop at their store, to come alone.

‘While we have always welcomed families and realise that for many a trip to Scally’s is a social outing, given the extraordinary circumstances we face, we will be required to limit the number of people in store,’ said a spokesperson.

‘Please observe the social distance of two metres and please keep chats to a minimum while in the store and keep moving through the store towards the checkouts.’

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