Grocery store chains are asking buyers to be patient and allow employees to restock supplies as they come in.
Many are limiting the number of cleaning supplies and paper goods allowed per customer after buyers cleared store shelves last week in response to COVID-19.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and banks remained open after Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday joined the governors of New York and New Jersey in ordering bars, restaurants, theaters and gyms to close. Bars and restaurants can remain open for food delivery.
Stop & Shop announced that beginning Thursday stores will open earlier — from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. daily — exclusively for customers age 60 and over.
“Now, more than ever, it’s important we come together as a community to support each other during challenging times. Part of that is showing compassion and care for some of our neighbors who are most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus,” the company said in a statement.
Stop & Shop also announced that it suspended its online pickup service until further notice so store staff can clean and restock. It also warned customers to expect delays with Peapod, its home delivery service.
“This is again due to extremely high demand, and our teams are working incredibly hard to ensure the site is running smoothly so that you can continue to receive orders when you need them,” Stop & Shop representatives said in a statement.
The chain and several others have also limited the sale of high-demand items, such as hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes, in stores as well as online, though the limit may vary by location.
“We’re working diligently along with our suppliers to keep these high-demand products in stock,” according to the statement.
Shop Rite, which has locations in Wallingford and Southington, is limiting disinfectant cleaners and wipes as well as paper products, bar and liquid soaps, cough/cold/flu/ over-the counter products, fresh meat and eggs.
Shop Rite has also bolstered its delivery service by adding capacity and implementing “drop at your door” service for pre-paid shoppers.
Walmart stores opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 11 p.m. Sunday and will continue on that schedule until further notice. The company is also offering pickup service for online orders.
Health clubs, mall, banks
The Edge Fitness Center, at 533 Broad St. in Meriden, closed at 2 p.m. after a corporate conference call, according to an employee who referred further questions to the Edge Corporate office. Planet Fitness, at 496 Broad St. in Meriden, also closed Monday in response to the governor’s order.
Westfield Meriden mall adjusted its hours for retailers through April 5, although many retailers may keep different hours.
Starting Monday, the mall opens from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
“Westfield Meriden remains open and operating so that retailers are able to serve the broader community and their customers during this unprecedented global pandemic; and so that we continue to support the local economy, ensuring that critical products and services are available to those who need them,” mall manager Chris Powers said in an e-mail.
Most banks remain open but encouraged customers to do more online banking, mobile banking and telephone banking.
“We have implemented preventative social distancing measures bank-wide to protect employees in various business functions,” stated Liberty Bank President David W. Glidden. “As of today, this includes identifying and assigning certain business-critical employees to work at alternative locations until further notice.”
The bank banned all out-of-state business travel by employees and has stepped up its cleaning and sanitizing.
CVS, which merged with Aetna last year, has also developed employee policies that address travel and work from home. Any employees returning from a designated Level 2 or Level 3 advisory area must observe a mandatory 14-day work-from-home period. All CVS employees who can work from home are encouraged to do so.
“We will also support employees in locations, such as stores, mail service pharmacies, call centers, and distribution centers with guidance and resources to help protect their health while at work,” a prepared statement said.