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Iceland’s special opening hours and coronavirus care packs – what supermarkets are doing to help over-70s

ICELAND is opening some stores one hour earlier for elderly shoppers so they can avoid huge crowds during the coronavirus outbreak. It means older customers will be able to shop for essentials without fear of being caught up in mass scenes of panic buyers. ⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news &…

ICELAND is opening some stores one hour earlier for elderly shoppers so they can avoid huge crowds during the coronavirus outbreak.

It means older customers will be able to shop for essentials without fear of being caught up in mass scenes of panic buyers.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

 Iceland has announced special opening hours just for elderly shoppers

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Iceland has announced special opening hours just for elderly shoppersCredit: Keith Morris

The supermarket chain couldn’t give us a list of stores or exact opening hours.

But it has confirmed that Iceland in the Kennedy Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, plus its Thanet Food Warehouse in Kent are extending hours for older shoppers.

The Belfast store, for example, is opening from 8am till 9am starting this Tuesday – although Iceland wouldn’t confirm if this will be everyday or weekly on a Tuesday, or how it defines being “elderly”.

Instead, the grocer says it’ll be up to individual shops to decide whether they want to open earlier.

 How coronavirus has spread across the UK

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How coronavirus has spread across the UK

Customers are being advised to get in contact with their local shop to find out if it’s extending hours for elderly customers.

Iceland has 960 stores in the UK – you can track down your nearest one and its contact details by using its online store finder tool.

The special opening hours come as health secretary Matt Hancock warned every Briton over the age of 70 will be told “within the coming weeks” to stay home for up to four months to protect themselves from coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

At the same time, shocking scenes showed empty supermarket shelves over the weekend as panicked Brits continue to empty stores of essentials including toilet roll, pasta and cleaning products.

The staggering images have led to fears older customers may miss out on products to get them by if they need to self-isolate.

Over the weekend, the number of cases in the UK shot up to 1,391 while 35 deaths have been reported.

Tap to see where COVID-19 is near you 

We’ve asked the other major supermarkets – including Aldi, Asda, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – if they’re doing anything similar and we’ll update this article when we know more.

It’s not just larger chains that are helping the elderly during the coronavirus panic though.

Day-Today convenience stores in Scotland have been praised on social media for reportedly looking out for elderly and vulnerable customers.

Shoppers say one Edinburgh store is handing out free COVID-19 “survival packs” including toilet roll, an anti-bacterial handwash, a packet of pocket tissues and one packet of paracetamol.

While others say a Falkirk branch is giving out face masks, anti-bacterial hand gel and cleaning wipes to pensioners.

We’ve put this to the firm, which has 200 stores around Scotland, and will update this story when we know more.

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