New normal: Communities modify routines during coronavirus crisis

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As of Wednesday, Whole Foods markets across the United States are turning away younger customers for the first hour of business to give early access to senior shoppers 60 and older.

"[It's] very gratifying to see that everybody now has changed their attitude toward what's going on and cooperating," said one Whole Foods senior shopper.

The supermarket chain is one of the latest to help seniors buy groceries before the crowds pour in.

At the River North location, older shoopers like Francine Fields, are applauding the social distancing initiative.

"I didn't have to compete with a lot of people trying to get what I wanted," Fields said.

"Young people, obviously, are carriers. We're susceptible and, you know, I'm trying my hardest just to stay healthy," Karen Benn, who qualifies for the early access.

RELATED: Jewel Osco, Whole Foods, Dollar General among stores opening early for seniors during COVID-19 outbreak

The newly implemented store hours are important as officials continue to stress COVID-19's increased threat to older generations and those with underlying health conditions.

Multiple younger shoppers are also applauding Whole Foods' precautions and embracing our new normal, even as the store asked them to come back later.

"I think they definitely should get the opportunity to have access to things when people aren't crowding the stores," said River North resident Aleja Ross.

"We have to take care of the people that got us here, and give them an opportunity to stay safe and stay healthy," said fellow resident Joe Kosin.

Whole Foods said stores will be closing early as well so that employees can sanitize the store, restock shelves and get some rest for the next day.
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