Zanotto's Markets helping older shoppers avoid COVID-19 by hosting 'senior hour'

Julian Glover Image
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
South Bay Grocery store opens for seniors in need of groceries
Bay Area grocery store chain Zanotto's Markets is creating a special shopping hour for older customers. Its an effort to help seniors stay safe from the coronavirus.

SAN JOSE (KGO) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom has urged all people age 65 and older to stay home during the coronavirus shelter-in-place order.

Some still need to go grocery shopping and one Bay Area grocery store chain is stepping in to help.

Zanotto's Markets has created a "senior hour" for older customers who want to shop early in the morning. Anyone 60 and older can go to Zanotto's locations from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and shop before the general public is allowed inside.

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At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday seniors were already lined up by the dozens outside the San Jose market.

"Fantastic store, fantastic people" said a grateful Richard Abate, "I know they're doing everything they can to help us out so we appreciate it."

In a matter of minutes the store was packed with shoppers and the parking lot was full.

Fred Zanotto, Vice President of Operations for the local chain of grocers said his stores had to do something for seniors after seeing long lines at Bay Area wholesale stores like Costco. He said his four stores have also been slammed with the rush of shoppers.

"It's a hard time right now" said Zanotto. "Fortunately we have a staff that's incredible, we're blessed with great customers...we just have to take care of each other."

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Shoppers did there best to keep their space in the unusually cramped aisles.

"It's hard to keep your distance so when they open these things up earlier for us it's just so much more easy" said Carolyn Quinn.

Quinn is from Lincoln, California, North of Sacramento, but came to the Bay Area to help out her brother and sister who are also seniors.

There was plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to go around inside the market, but meats disappears as fast as the butchers could bring more out. The paper product aisles was one of the first to be cleaned out with no toilet paper in sight.

Zanotto said his team is working as hard as they can to keep the shelves stocked and is reminding all customers, no matter the age, to stay calm.

"We will get thru this together. It's simple" said Zanotto.