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HUNTSVILLE, AL. – Seniors and those with disabilities have a new option starting today to help them avoid grocery lines and keep social distance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Companies are taking steps to accommodate those who are most vulnerable. 

Local and state officials say there’s little reason to flood stores and stockpile products.
Still, there are items people are struggling to get their hands on.

“You guys are a lot quicker than we are you run aisles quicker than we do,” said 61-year-old Frank Wakefield. “We take it a little slower.”

Supplies of certain foods, toilet paper, and cleaning items are in short supply for now.

“It’s crazy,” said Wakefield. “You go in the grocery store it’s empty and people trying to run over you. You know it’s bad.”

But Dollar General instituted a new policy Tuesday that will help seniors like Frank Wakefield get what they need first.

“I bought a Pepto,” said 66-year-old Eddie Hampton. “I bought me some cough syrup and this comes from the dollar store.”

Eddie Hampton will be 67 by the end of the month.

All Dollar General stores will reserve the first hour of business – that’s 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for most locations – for senior customers because they’re the most vulnerable to COVID-19. That includes the disabled and people with compromised immune systems.

“I think grocery stores should do the same thing,” said Wakefield.

Wakefield is in the group considered the most vulnerable to COVID-19. But the disabled and people with compromised immune systems can take advantage of the rule too.

“They’re so prone to getting sick so I think they should have a special time for themselves and maybe give us a chance later to get what we need,” said Okorie Stovall

So seniors can walk in and get what they need without the rush.

A Dollar General spokesperson says the policy will remain in place for an undetermined length of time. The store will close an hour sooner to give employees time to sanitize and restock the shelves.