More stores are offering special hours for senior shoppers, in efforts to help maximize social distancing for the crowd deemed the highest risk for novel coronavirus.

Dollar General, which has more than 80 stores across New Jersey, started encouraging a senior hour for each store’s first 60 minutes open, “to provide these at-risk customers with the ability to purchase the items they need and want at the beginning of each day to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods.”

Kings Food Markets, which has about 23 grocery stores in north and central New Jersey, also announced March 16 that it was reserving the “first hour of shopping for our elderly and high-risk guests.” Customers can check local store hours online.

The companies joined Stop & Shop, which has announced its own “senior shopping” window for the first 90 minutes that each grocery store is open, starting March 19.

According to the same announcement from Dollar General stores, in effect March 17, all locations also now are closing an hour earlier in order for employees to clean and restock shelves as well as for "their own health and wellbeing."

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