What You Need To Know About Grocery Shopping Rules In NYC

Claire Leaden Claire Leaden

What You Need To Know About Grocery Shopping Rules In NYC

Lots of people in NYC (and around the world) have been panic-buying at grocery stores, fearful they’ll be quarantined and run out of food.

Though officials have pleaded not to do this, it hasn’t stopped many shelves from being cleared out (though have you seen what New Yorkers still won’t buy, even in crisis?).

To help combat the issue, and have availability for older New Yorkers who may be struggling, local and national supermarkets have started implementing new rules and regulations.

Here’s what you need to know about whichever supermarket is in your neighborhood:

Morton Williams

Morton Williams is prioritizing the hour between 7am and 8am for senior citizens and immunocompromised neighbors. “Those most vulnerable in our communities would greatly appreciate it,” they said. Also they have asked to “Please be respectful of other customers and staff by wearing a mask or scarf while shopping. Crowd control may be present during busier hours.”

They have also stated that all supermarkets are sanitized multiple times on a daily basis, including but not limited to: wagon and hand basket handles, entrance and exit door handles, frozen food door handles, salad bar glass guards, restroom and stall door handles, credit card PIN pads, ATM machine screens, self-service coffee handles and surfaces, staircase and escalator (if applicable) hand-rails, café tables and chairs.

C Town

C Town is enacting 8-9am senior shopping hours, opening to the public at 9am, in some all locations. They will be publishing a full list of which stores (which are independently owned) on Twitter.

Key Food / Food Emporium

Key Food, which also owns Food Emporium, announced that they are acting in accordance with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC). They said there are shortages of some items, although they have been working with suppliers to resolve inventory issues, and ask for everyone’s patience.

They have also added a “contactless delivery” option on Instacart. When finishing your order, just select “Leave at my door if I am not around” so no exposure is risked.

Some of their stores have enacted senior-only shopping hours, which you can see the full list of on their website here. They also ask: “that shoppers comply with the social distancing guidelines that we have all become familiar with. We are also continuing to follow all state-mandated cleaning protocols to ensure a clean and safe environment for our customers.”

Food Bazaar

Customers who are 60 and over can shop from 7-8am daily. The stores will be open to the general population from 8am to 8:30pm. They are also limiting water to two cases per family, to ensure there is enough for all customers. They will also be closing at 2:30pm on Easter Sunday, April 12.

You can get groceries delivered at Shop.FoodBazaar.com.


Wegmans in Brooklyn is now open from 7am to 8pm so the workers can restock and disinfect, though the rest of the stores in New York State have changed from 7am-10pm.

They are are limiting customers to one-item only of certain supplies, including: packaged breads & rolls, butter, eggs, milk, frozen vegetables, boxed cereal, disinfecting wipes, and much more. You can see the full list of limited items here.

They have also temporarily closed all market café seating areas, all in-store pubs, select Burger Bars, Amore, and Next Door.

Trader Joe’s

All locations of Trader Joe’s revised their store hours so crew members can take care of themselves during this difficult time.

  • Store hours are now from 9am-7pm until further notice.
  • Stores now dedicate the first hour of operation every day (either 8AM-9AM or 9AM-10AM depending on the store) to serve senior customers over the age of 60 and customers with disabilities who may need additional assistance while shopping. To find the hours for your store, please visit our locations page.
  • They have temporarily closed some stores related to COVID-19 concerns, including for additional precautionary cleaning and sanitization (again, see locations page)
  • They are limiting the number of people in stores; monitoring and marking the distance between customers waiting in line outside and at checkout; having every other register open (and alternating open registers for regular cleanings); suspending the use of reusable bags; and paying careful attention to what is happening throughout the store, continuing to remind and encourage our customers and Crew Members to practice social distancing
  • To further support social distancing efforts and prevent the potential spread of the virus, they are installing temporary plexiglass barriers at all of our check stands as quickly as possible
  • All food and beverage sampling in stores in suspended until further notice

And, they’ve added additional paid sick time and are encouraging them to stay home if they don’t feel well.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods has also adjusted their hours so clerks can “restock shelves, sanitize our stores and rest in preparation for the next day.” During this time, stores will remain open for pickup (in stores that offer it), and they will continue to fulfill Prime delivery orders.

Most NYC stores are open from 8am to 9pm (except the Harlem location, which is open 8am-8pm). Customers 60 years old and older can start shopping at 7am (or one hour before the general public, depending on the store’s adjusted hours).


Target is reducing their hours to close by 9pm so workers can replenish products and clean well. They have also reserved the first hour of shopping each Wednesday at stores nationwide for vulnerable guests, including elderly and those with underlying health concerns.

They have also placed limits on products like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, bottled water and more while they restock. Beginning April 4, Target will actively monitor and, when needed, limit the total number of people inside based on the store’s specific square footage. Over the next two weeks, Target will begin providing all team members in our stores and distribution centers with high-quality, disposable face masks and gloves at the beginning of every shift, and strongly encourage our teams to wear them while working.

Guest-facing surfaces like checklanes and touchscreens are cleaned at least every 30 minutes. You can read more about their measures here.


ALDI stores across the country will be open from 9am to 7pm daily. Some stores will be temporarily closed or have limited hours to accommodate restocking and cleaning. They cannot provide specific location information currently.

To support as many customers as possible, you may see quantity limits placed on select items. “We appreciate your patience as some of these products may be temporarily unavailable in some of our stores,” they said.

Effective Thursday, April 9th, they will limit the number of people inside their stores to approximately five customers per 1,000 square feet. They also kindly ask customers to limit their shopping to one person per family. Inside the store, they are rolling out one-way aisles to better manage the flow of traffic and help our customers maintain social distance from each other and team members. In-store signage will direct shoppers through the store. Read more here.

Shop Rite

Stores remain open for business, but some are operating on modified schedules “based on product deliveries and the need to restock shelves and allow for additional cleaning.” Look up your store here.

Due to high demand, there is also a longer list of products that are subject to purchase limits, from medicines like fever-reducing medicine and upper respiratory products to food like fresh ground beef and eggs.

There is a two-item limit on the following:

  • Disinfectant cleaners and wipes
  • Paper products
  • Bar and liquid soaps
  • Cough/cold/flu over-the-counter medicines
  • Fresh meat
  • Eggs

You can see the full list here.

Stop & Shop

Stop & Shop has over 20 stores in NYC, and now all stores nationwide will be open early to service the most vulnerable customers (age 60 and older or those with weak immune systems) from 6am-7:30am daily. Regular public store hours are from 7:30am-8pm. They also have a new “Contact-Free” delivery option. They also just implemented capacity limits and one-way aisles. Here is what a press release detailed:

“Customer counts in each store will be limited to a specific number based upon the square footage of the store. Signs signifying the customer limit will be posted on store doors, and store managers will take regular customer counts to ensure proper capacity is maintained.

“One-way grocery aisles also are being implemented to reinforce social distancing and improve traffic flow. Signs are being placed at each grocery aisle along with arrows on the floor directing traffic. Customers also will see signage to remind them to maintain six feet of distance from others in the store.”

We will keep adding to the article as and when we have new information.

featured image source: Shutterstock

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