Between long lines and empty shelves, shopping has become a challenge even for the strongest among us. And for seniors and those with compromised immune systems, shopping in a crowded store during the current coronavirus pandemic comes with elevated risks.
To protect these customers, DeCicco & Sons supermarkets — with locations in Armonk, Ardsley, Larchmont, Millwood, Pelham, Harrison, Somers, and Brewster — are reserving the first hour of the day, from 7:30 am to 8:30 a.m., for anyone 65+ or who suffers from immunity issues.
“Honestly, the idea came from customers,” says co-owner Chris DeCicco. “We got our first request late Saturday night, and by late Sunday morning we implemented it.” The reaction, he adds, “has been so much larger than we could possibly have imagined. We have been getting messages from people all around the world thanking us for doing this. Plus, I am really happy to see many of the larger chains starting to jump onto this idea as well.”
For regular customers, DeCicco & Sons stores are also ahead of the curve in practicing stringent health and safety measures.
“We began sanitizing every cart throughout the day and providing disposable gloves for customers over three weeks ago. We implemented extra cleaning and sanitizing. We have a commercial cleaning crew come in every night and sanitize everything,” DeCicco explains. “[On Monday,] we took a drastic step and began reducing our occupancy to forty percent. When the store gets to forty percent capacity, we temporarily stop people from coming in.”
At the checkouts, he says, “we are only running every other register to try and keep people at least three feet apart, which can be very difficult to do in a supermarket.” Many people have asked why DeCicco & Sons jumped on these precautions sooner than anyone else. “I think it’s because we have been in constant contact with family members in Italy and they keep telling us to learn from their mistakes,” DeCicco shares. “We are really trying to be extremely proactive with keeping everyone as safe as we can.”