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Vulnerable groups get priority shopping hour at Singapore supermarkets

SUPERMARKETS in Singapore are introducing a dedicated shopping hour in stores for senior citizens, and other vulnerable groups to ensure that they get access to food and other essentials. 

This comes on the back of the Covid-19 outbreak that has resulted in a spike in demand for groceries, prompting supermarkets to implement measures to ensure the well-being of vulnerable groups. 

All Dairy Farm Food stores including Cold Storage, Giant, Market Place and Jasons Deli will begin its initiative this week. It will take place every Tuesday and Wednesday during the first hour of its opening hours, or 8am to 9am for 24-hour stores, according to a statement by Dairy Farm Singapore (DFSG) on Tuesday. 

DFSG has also designated special checkout queues for this group of customers during normal operating hours to accommodate those who cannot shop during the dedicated hours.

Social distancing measures have also been implemented at checkout queues across all DFSG's retail and convenience stores such as Guardian and 7-Eleven. This is done by placing floor markers at checkout areas to remind customers to maintain social distancing while waiting in line. 

Said Chris Bush, chief executive officer of Southeast Asia food, Dairy Farm Group: “We are truly in unprecedented times with the Covid-19 outbreak throughout the world, but the well-being and safety of our customers and our team members remain our top priority.”

Likewise, FairPrice had announced a similar initiative earlier on Tuesday. Its initiative will be held every Monday during the first hour of each FairPrice store's normal operating hours, beginning next Monday, according to the supermarket chain in a press statement on Tuesday. For stores that operate 24 hours, the dedicated shopping hour will be from 7am to 8am. 

Group chief executive officer of FairPrice Group, Seah Kian Peng, said: "The dedicated shopping hour for our Pioneer Generation members helps safeguard their well-being and provide them with more time and space."

To shop during the priority hour, Pioneer Generation members are required to present their Pioneer Generation cards, while pregnant women and those with disabilities should inform staff manning the entrance of the store of their conditions. 

It has also put in place floor markings one metre apart at checkout queues to maintain social distancing. All food sampling has also been ceased until further notice. 

Other measures include stepping up on its cleaning regimes and ensuring that all its staff and suppliers have their temperatures taken twice a day, according to FairPrice.