To ensure the safety of the vulnerable segment of the community during the Covid-19 outbreak, NTUC FairPrice, Cold Storage and Giant supermarkets on Tuesday (24 March) stated that pregnant women, senior citizens and those with disabilities will get their own dedicated shopping hour at their stores.
FairPrice Group first announced the initiative, which will be held from 30 March, every Monday during the first hour of each FairPrice store's normal operating hours, and from 7am to 8am for stores that operate for 24 hours.
Following the announcement, Dairy Farm Group, which operates Cold Storage, Giant, Market Place and Jasons Deli, also announced that they will roll out the same measure.
However, priority shopping hours at the Dairy Farm Group's supermarkets will begin this week. The first hour of Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be set aside for the same segment. The priority shopping hours for their 24-hour stores will be from 8am to 9am.
Priority shopping hour at FairPrice for vulnerable segments
FairPrice's move was in line with the Ministry of Health's (MOH) recommendations for safe distancing and greater protection for the more vulnerable groups.
Other measures in place at their stores include floor markings at checkout queues and cessation of food sampling activities.
"As we continue to step up precautionary measures to adapt to the evolving Covid-19 situation, it is important to be mindful of those who are vulnerable when they shop for their daily essentials at our stores. The dedicated shopping hour for our PG members help safeguard their well-being and provide them with more time and space," said Seah Kian Peng, Group CEO, FairPrice Group.
To shop during the priority shopping hour, members of the pioneer generation need only present their pioneer generation card. They will also enjoy additional discounts from the existing pioneer generation discount scheme when they shop on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Meanwhile, pregnant women and those with disabilities need only to inform staff manning the entrance of the store of their condition to gain admission into the store during the priority shopping hour at FairPrice stores.
Good news amid fears of shortages due to panic buying
While the measure was put in place to improve safe distancing measures, some see it as good news to alleviate fears of shortages due to panic buying.
One parent, who requested to be identified only as Ms Lim, told theAsianparent that the announcement comes as welcomed news to parents like her who are currently pregnant and also live with her senior citizen mother.
"The recent panic buying because of the lockdown in Malaysia really had us worried because I am currently pregnant, I have a 3-year-old daughter and my mum also lives with us. Some people were not very responsible when buying necessities and items were flying off [the] shelves, so to be assured that we can still be able to access supplies to provide for our families is definitely good news."
Within hours of Malaysia's move to close their borders, reports of panic-buying among Singaporean surfaced again. This was despite the government assuring the public that there is no need for panic-buying.
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This article was first published in theAsianparent.