Dollar General stores across the country, including the one in Tonto Basin, started a new program on Tuesday, March 17 to minimize the exposure of senior citizens to COVID-19.

The chain is dedicating the first hour of each shopping day to senior shoppers.

“Dollar General is strongly encouraging that the first hour of operations each day be dedicated solely for the shopping needs of senior customers, who are one of the groups most vulnerable to the COVID-19 coronavirus,” Dollar General said in a press release.

“Dollar General wants to provide these at-risk customers with the ability to purchase the items they need and want at the beginning of each day to avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods.”

“Other customers are encouraged to plan their shopping trips around this window of time to allow the most susceptible customers in our communities the ability to shop during the first hour that stores are open.”

Dollar General is also closing an hour earlier than normal to allow employees to clean and re-stock store shelves, and for their health and wellbeing. The Tonto Basin store, at 143 E. Tonto Creek Trail, is open from 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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