LEE’S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) - Grocery stores across the nation are changing their hours in an attempt slow the spread of the coronavirus, giving employees more time to clean and stock shelves, and many are offering special shopping hours, too.

Thursday was the first day Hy-Vee offered an early-morning hour of shopping just for vulnerable populations, including elderly people, pregnant women and people who are immunocompromised.

From 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., people who fit into those categories can shop for what they need.

The changes are not just happening at Hy-Vee. Walmart is cutting down hours and adding a restricted shopping hour starting next week. Starting Friday morning, Price Chopper, Cosentino’s and Sun Fresh Markets are doing the same.

One shopper picking up items for her sister who’s at home with cancer told KCTV5 News that this was an important move for people like her sister who might not have anyone to shop for them.

Other customers appreciated the effort but had critiques of the changes.

“I think it’s great they’re doing that. Although, for me, I’d have to get up at 6 in the morning to come. I don’t think that’s a good time,” shopper Philip Braverman said.

Hy-Vee also announced Thursday that customers can no longer bring in reusable bags and that stores are installing protective barriers at each checkout register to better practice social distancing.

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