Several Whole Foods locations have begun filling only online orders as demand for delivery increases

By Ally Mauch
April 22, 2020 01:11 PM

Some grocery store chains are focusing their attention on online orders and food delivery as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States.

Though grocery stores remain an essential business amid the many coronavirus-related shutdowns, the pandemic has prompted shoppers to limit the number of times they visit brick-and-mortar grocery stores, with some turning entirely to delivery or pick up services.

To keep up with the new demand for such services, two Whole Foods locations, one in New York City and another in Baltimore, are only filling online orders, while another in San Francisco operates normally until 1 p.m. before transitioning to online-only.

stocking up on groceries
Credit: J. Conrad Williams, Jr./Newsday RM via Getty

“With stay-at-home orders in place, customers have generated unprecedented demand for grocery delivery,” a Whole Foods Market spokesperson tells PEOPLE in a statement. “One way we are helping to meet demand is by introducing online-only stores in three cities that are temporarily dedicated to fulfilling online orders. As we navigate the challenges associated with COVID-19, we continue to find ways to increase delivery availability while navigating safety measures and social distancing.”

Beginning on March 25, Kroger introduced their first pickup-only location in the greater Cincinnati area. In a press release, the supermarket chain notes an “increase in demand for its pickup service as customers seek alternative ways to shop for groceries.”

“We greatly appreciate our customers’ understanding as we work tirelessly to serve the community during this unprecedented time,” Erin Rolfes, the corporate affairs manager of Kroger’s Cincinnati-Dayton division, said in the release. “The pickup-only model is ideal for all customers, especially for senior and higher-risk shoppers.”

stocking up on groceries
Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty

In their guide for grocery shopping, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend ordering online or using curbside pickup if possible.

If you must go out, the CDC says to remain at least six feet away from others, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering, use disinfecting wipes on your cart and try to go during off-peak hours.

The guide also urges those at a higher risk for severe illness, such as the elderly, to find out if stores have implemented special hours. Many chains, including Walmart, Target and Costco, have hours dedicated exclusively to senior and disabled shoppers and are limiting the number of people who can be in the store at a given time.

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