Target announced Tuesday that stores across the country will take measures to ensure elderly customers and those with underlying health conditions have access to stocked shelves amid a wave of panic-buying caused by the coronavirus.
Starting Wednesday, the first hour of shopping every Wednesday will be reserved for “vulnerable guests,” according to a press release from the retail giant. Target stores will also be closing early, at 9 p.m. local time, so employees can clean and restock the stores.
“Families are counting on Target for critical supplies during this challenging time, and we’ll continue to do all that we can to keep our stores open. For weeks, we’ve been responding to the impact of the coronavirus by taking care of our team, rigorously cleaning our stores and helping our guests find the food, medicine and other essentials they need for themselves and their families. As our team continues to adapt to the country’s fast-changing needs, we’re announcing plans to reduce our store hours and offer dedicated shopping hours for vulnerable guests. We’ll also maintain limits on select products and would ask guests to purchase only what they need so there’s enough supply to accommodate this increased demand.”– Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO of Target.
Target joins Dollar General and various grocery stores in creating special hours for the customers most vulnerable to COVID-19 who may also have a difficult time navigating crowded stores or searching multiple locations for sold-out items. The big box store says it’s trying to fast-track the resupply of items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies that have been in high demand.
Target announced it is also adding payroll hours to ensure that “guest-facing surfaces like checklanes and touchscreens are cleaned at least every 30 minutes.” All seating areas at Target Cafés, Pizza Huts, Snack Bars, Beverage Bars, Starbucks and condiment stations are being closed.
Target says it will waive eligibility requirements, copays and other program details to make sure employees with caregiving needs can take care of their families. The company is also waiving the absenteeism policy and covering up to 14 days of quarantine and illness “for team members with a confirmed case of COVID-19.”
According to the release, Target will continue to offer standing benefits like paid family leave and free counseling services.