Don't Panic

What to Know About Grocery Stores During Coronavirus Spread

Many markets have changed hours and offer delivery, curbside pickup.

By Timothy Malcolm March 17, 2020

Customers in this Savannah, Georgia, Kroger emptied out the toilet paper quickly as the United States declared a national emergency amid the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Over the past several days, Houston-area grocery stores have shifted hours in order to keep shelves stocked for customers seeking goods for quarantines during a possible spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19. Some have also put limitations on the quantities of specific goods people can buy (pasta, water, meats, toilet paper). 

On Monday, Mayor Sylvester Turner urged Houstonians to only buy what they need at grocery stores, and to be sensitive to the needs of other people at the store.

"No need to rush into the stores as if all of the food will be gone and there won't be any left to restock," Turner said. "There's no problem with the food supply chain, and they'll be able to restock the shelves."

Meanwhile, some grocers across the country have set aside an hour each day for senior-only shopping. This move is meant to give seniors, who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 infection, a chance to purchase goods without being mixed in with the general population.

At all locations, Food Town is offering senior hours from 7–8 a.m. daily, opening doors for those ages 65 and older. A government-issued state ID or Texas driver's license is needed to enter. Meanwhile, H-E-B isn't offering senior hours, citing this practice may run counter to a need to socially distance people from one another. Instead, H-E-B is pushing curbside and home delivery options for those not wanting to walk into the market.

Here's what grocers are doing across Houston during this time:

For many markets, curbside and delivery slots have filled up for days, so your best bet is to call your local market and find out the next available slot. Plan accordingly.

Also, for one-location and mom-and-pop markets across the city, call to find out hours and services available.

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