What you need to know about purchase limits, store hours at N.J. supermarkets, grocery stores (May 12, 2020)


Gov. Phil Murphy could announce “hard dates” by the end of this week on when the state can begin to reopen from near-lockdown restrictions in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Certain businesses, including grocery stores, along with pharmacies and gas stations, are considered essential and have remained open.

The governor announced Monday 1,453 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 139,945. Additionally, Murphy announced 59 new deaths. New Jersey has now lost 9,310 lives to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Many supermarkets have limited the purchase of other key items — such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, over-the-counter medicines and cleaning supplies — on top of shifting their hours to accommodate the safety of employees and shoppers as well as those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Gov. Murphy has required all store employees and shoppers to wear face masks or coverings to help fight the coronavirus outbreak until further notice and has limited customers in stores to a max of 50% of the store’s capacity.

Store employees are allowed to limit the time those without a mask are allowed to stay in the store and ask people anybody who isn’t wearing a mask or covering to stay away from other customers, a Murphy official said.

Workers will also be required to wear gloves if they’re interacting with customers, Murphy said. Businesses are required to give workers masks, coverings and gloves at the businesses’ expense. Those under age 2 or those with medical reasons for not wearing a face covering are exempt.

Here’s a list of the supermarkets and pharmacies with new policies:

Acme is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. to the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. These groups also will be able to shop at Fresh Market for the first hour of operations, from 8 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. The supermarket has limited customers to three packages of any kind of meat (or 10 pounds).

ALDI stores are open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, though some stores may have limited hours to accommodate restocking and cleaning. Vulnerable shoppers will be able to shop on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Aldi will also be taking the temperatures of store and warehouse employees before they report to work.

CEO of ALDI Jason Hart posted a message on the store’s website informing customers that quantity limits might be placed on products including water, pantry staples, pre-made meals, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper because of increased demand.

All New Jersey BJ’s locations are open one hour early every day for members who are age 60 or older. This special opening hour will be from 8 to 9 a.m. daily and there will be a designated entrance for them to use.

Clubs are closing early to give team members more time to restock, sanitize and recharge. BJ’s Optical centers are also temporarily closed until further notice.

BJ’s announced in April that first responders and health care workers will be able to shop without a membership on Sundays from 8 a.m. 9 a.m.

Costco, which is asking customers to wear face coverings will shopping, announced that most stores returned to regular hours after the company had operated on a changed schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic. Costco will still be open for seniors and people with disabilities only from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Mondays through Fridays. Costco will continue to place limits on certain items.

Costco has announced fresh meat purchases are being “temporarily limited to a total of 3 items per member among the beef, pork and poultry products” in response to the closing of a number of meat processing plants around the nation.

At some locations, there will be still be limited or no service at the hearing aid department, Costco Optical, the floral department and the jewelry department. Limitations vary by location.

The Tennessee-based discount store will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m., depending on store locations. Dollar General will be dedicating the first hour of its more than 100 stores throughout the Garden State to helping senior shoppers in particular. It will also be closing an hour early to help restock shelves. In addition, front-line responders and National Guard members will be able to receive a 10% in-store discount. Hours for specific locations are available here.

Fairway’s stores in New Jersey are open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays in Woodland Park and 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Paramus (this location will close on May 15 after its purchase by Amazon). The marketplace has put in place social-distancing and sanitation measures and is limiting the purchase quantities of some high-demand items.

Kings Food Markets has announced its associates wear masks at all times, and the supermarket has extended the plexiglass barriers at the cash registers for additional protection.

It is asking customers to wear a face mask at all times while in its stores to limit the number of people coming for shopping trips to one person, when possible. There are also one-way aisles and Kings has provided red bins in the parking lot for used rubber gloves.

The German discount grocer has shifted its New Jersey hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice and has in place special hours of 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for customers over the age of 65, and those with high-risk conditions to the coronavirus.

It’s also limiting high-quantity purchases on a case-by-case basis, determined at the store level.

The retailer has added further deep-cleaning measures aimed at protecting employees and customers and is taking temperatures of their workers prior to their shifts.

The wholesale club will now be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, and maintain its regular Sunday operating hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The retailer is also implementing special hours of 7 to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for seniors and those with disabilities or compromised immune systems. The wholesale club plans to also include “Shop From Your Car” services.

The club also introduced ‘Hero Hours’ for first responders and health care workers, giving them access to shopping hours of 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. every Sunday.

The Walmart-owned, membership-only retailer has limited purchases of beef, poultry, lamb and pork to one per item, both in its stores and on its website.

While many ShopRite locations have not changed hours, some are operating on modified schedules based on product deliveries and the need to restock shelves and allow for additional cleaning, according to a notice posted on its website.

ShopRite has been limiting the number of items shoppers can purchase per each of the following categories: disinfectant cleaners and wipes, paper products, bar and liquid soaps, cough/cold/flu over-the-counter medicines, fresh meat, eggs.

A list of other items that are subject to purchase limits per category at checkout has been posted online. Product limits are subject to change at the store manager’s discretion.

ShopRite has also temporarily suspended its refund, return and raincheck policies.

More than two dozen ShopRites throughout New Jersey are taking temperatures of workers before they report to work.

Stew Leonard’s, which operates grocery stores in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, announced stores will open an hour early for seniors and other vulnerable shoppers. To find out what time elder hours start in your area, check here for store hours.

The Norwalk, Connecticut-based chain has temporarily stopped selling sliced chicken breast so the stores can prioritize selling whole breast parts it gets from farmers in Pennsylvania.

Most Stop & Shop stores have adjusted their hours to 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. People ages 60 and up or those with weakened immune systems can shop at the store from 6 to 7:30 a.m. daily using a designated entrance, which will be marked at their local store.

The company previously announced purchase limits on high-demand products, including sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, Lysol sprays, bleach, antibacterial soap and other cleaning products — both in-store and online. Item limitations may vary by location.

Online pickup service has been suspended until further notice.

Target has reduced its operating hours from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m, and is reserving the first hour of shopping each Tuesday and Wednesday for the elderly and those with underlying health concerns.

The company previously said its staff will fast-track the flow of products that are in highest demand, which includes food, medicine and other essentials. Limitations to on-demand items have been made, although these items are not specified.

In-demand services supporting local distancing including Order Pickup and Drive Up will have extra staffing. Target also said guests who have items with a “return by date” from March 26 to April 26, during which it suspended returns, will have until June 15 to return them.

Trader Joe’s said, starting Monday, its store hours will extend to 8 p.m. and will continue to dedicate the first hour of operation every day to serve senior customers over the age of 60 and customers with disabilities depending on location.

The grocery chain also clarified in April that it is not offering any coupons, discounts or gift cards after reports surfaced about them.

Walmart has announced adjusted hours for all of its stores of 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Each store has been offering a hour-long senior shopping event at 6 a.m. every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older. Pharmacies and Vision Centers will also be open during this time.

The retailer announced in April it is expanding the availability of its pickup service, which will now be available 7-8 a.m. at select locations for customers over the age of 60, as well as first responders, customers with disabilities and anyone designated high-risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pickup their Walmart order curbside and contact-free.

Walmart has enacted product limitations on paper products, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, wipes, formula and baby food.

The Auto Care Centers have been temporarily shut down to allow those associates to prioritize “stocking and cleaning in the rest of the store.” Vision Centers will continue operating on its normal schedule, but will be providing essential services only, including glasses repair and helping customers pick up existing orders. At least one associate will be present at all times, while the other associates will help in the rest of the store.

Wegmans has shifted its hours to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at New Jersey locations. A two-item purchase limit has been implemented on products that are in high demand, including cleaning supplies, dairy and meat products. A full list of these limited products is online.

Special hours for customers over 65 and others at high risk can shop during special hours of 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. daily.

Grocery Delivery & Curbside Pickup times continue to be “extremely limited,” though shoppers are encouraged to keep checking the available windows as they open up.

Weis is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and has reopened its Weis 2 Go online ordering with curbside pickup and home delivery except for its store in Hillsborough. Pickup or delivery will be available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. but some items may not be available online due to high demand.

The supermarket chain has placed limitations on a number of its products, including a purchase limit of two for disinfectant, antibacterial wipes, liquid and foam hand soap and multi-pack bath tissue. A purchase limit of one London Broil per customer has also been enacted.

Whole Foods hours vary by location, but seniors have an hour to shop before the general public and stores are closing early to accommodate restocking. The store has also limited the purchase of high-demand products. The store has also suspended its return policy and all sales are final unless there’s a quality problem with the product at the time of purchase.

Whole Foods has announced it will provide free face masks to customers nationwide.

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