Kroger, Walmart and more grocers limit store hours amid coronavirus outbreak

As people scramble to stock up on groceries, supermarkets are modifying their schedules in order to meet rising demand.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Aly Walansky

Widespread concern about the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus has led to a spike in demand for non-perishables, hearty produce, canned goods and a lot of toilet paper at grocery stores across the United States.

As the threat of a potential quarantine looms, shoppers are stocking up in droves, and many stores are seeing their stocks depleted.

In an effort to keep up with demand and restock shelves more efficiently, many of the nation's biggest supermarket chains have announced new schedules at locations across the country. Before you head out on your next shopping trip, call your favorite store to verify its current hours as they may have shifted recently.

Aldi

The German-based chain announced Saturday that it will temporarily close or have limited hours at many of its U.S. locations to deal with rising demand.

“Our teams are working diligently to keep our shelves stocked and we are continuing to react to the Covid-19 situation,” Jason Hart, CEO of ALDI U.S., said in a news release. “In the midst of increased demand and challenging supply, we are focused on the products you are likely to want most: water, pantry staples, pre-made meals, cleaning supplies, toilet paper and more.”

Before heading out to your local Aldi, call ahead to make sure the store is still open. A representative for the chain was not able to provide more details at this time.

Giant

Giant has announced its delivery service will only use contactless options from now until the foreseeable future. The chain is also suspending food sampling programs and in-store events. In addition, all of Giant’s 24-hour locations will start closing at midnight and reopen at 6 a.m. According to the grocer's press release, “The decision comes as part of the company’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will allow store team members additional time to sanitize and restock shelves as daily deliveries arrive.”

H.E.B.

This Texas-based chain is modifying store hours to allow its employees more time “to work diligently overnight to fully prepare the store for customers during the day.” Instead of opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. (or later), store hours will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time.

Kroger

Kroger is adjusting its store operating hours in some areas based on local circumstances. Many stores will likely be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time.

"We will continue to make decisions that allow us to operate clean, open and stocked stores to serve our customers and support our associates," said the chain in a statement. This follows an announcement that two Kroger employees — one in Colorado and another in Washington State —tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Publix

Publix has adjusted its store and pharmacy hours companywide and will close all locations at 8 p.m. In addition, customers who are avoiding public places may take advantage of the grocer's home delivery or curbside pickup services. Like Costco, Publix has also suspended in-store food demonstrations and distribution of free samples.

Stop & Shop

This grocery chain has modified its store hours to 7:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. at most stores and is suspending all food sampling programs and in-store events.

On Monday afternoon, Stop & Shop announced that it will be implementing "senior-only" hours at its grocery stores. Starting Thursday, March 19, 6 a.m.-7:30 a.m. will only be open for customers 60 years and older.

Target

According to a statement on its website, Target has started to “limit the number of key items per purchase, which will allow more guests to get what they need.” A representative for the retailer told TODAY that the company has no plans to adjust store hours at this time.

Trader Joe’s

Starting Monday, March 16, all Trader Joe’s stores will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. local time, according to a statement on its website. The shortened hours will allow employees more time to restock essential items and fresh produce.

Walmart

Walmart has modified hours at thousands of U.S. stores and will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice. “This will help ensure associates can clean and stock products. Stores operating under more reduced hours will keep current hours of operation,” the brand posted on social media.

Wegmans Food Markets

This popular Northeast-based grocery chain has modified hours at various locations for sanitizing and restocking. As of Monday, the following hours are in effect at these locations: New York State stores (excluding Brooklyn) and Erie, Pennsylvania: 6 a.m.–12 a.m.; New England, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania (excluding Erie), North Carolina stores: 6 a.m.–11 p.m.; Maryland stores: 6 a.m.–10 p.m., and Brooklyn: 7 a.m.–11 p.m.

Whole Foods

As of Monday, the Amazon-owned grocer said it would not be modifying its hours, but the chain is suspending all food sampling and demos until further notice, according to a company statement. The grocer is also no longer allowing personal, reusable containers at its smoothie and coffee bars. "Any changes in store hours will be posted on the Whole Foods Market website for that specific store. Customers can find information on current store hours by visiting and selecting their neighborhood Whole Foods Market," a representative shared in an email to TODAY.