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'Dollar General' Dedicating First Hour Of Business To Seniors Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Starting Tuesday, senior shoppers will be accommodated during the first hour of business at Dollar General store locations.

The announcement came after Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all nonessential businesses to close for two weeks. Businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, and department stores will remain open.

Dollar General Corporation announced its plans on Monday to dedicate the first hour of store business solely to the needs of senior customers.

It's an opportunity for seniors to come in and get what they need, avoiding all the lines and craziness we've seen over social media.

Before the doors even opened at 8 this morning, some seniors were lined up outside the door in West View.

Timothy Muir and his brother were first in line. They've gone to other stores but it's been a struggle to get what they need during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Everybody was banging into you with your carts," he told KDKA's Chris Hoffman. "It was like a madhouse in there."

The hot commodity of toilet paper was a common purchase. Boxes of them were right inside the doors.

This decision comes as the seniors are one the groups most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

In addition to the early dedicated hour, Dollar General announced that its stores will be closing one hour earlier in the evening to allow for cleaning and restocking.

Other customers are encouraged to plan their trips later in the day and give the seniors the time they need.

The company says:

"In keeping with our mission and our ongoing commitment to serve our communities, we are dedicating the first hour of each day to seniors.

We appreciate our customers' understanding of our decision and request they visit our stores later in the morning to allow at-risk populations the ability to purchase the items they need at affordable prices," said Todd Vasos, Dollar General's CEO in a press release.

"During these unprecedented times, Dollar General is diligently working to meet the ongoing needs of our customers and communities.

We are proud to live our mission and provide customers with everyday low prices on the household essentials that are used and replenished most often."

While Dollar General is still open, many business across the state will be closed for at least two weeks.

In Westmoreland County, some business owners say that closing is simply not a viable option.

"I may be able to modify my business somewhat, maybe do a delivery service if necessary. But I can't see myself shutting down," said Allan Lydic, owner of Greensburg News.

Tanger Outlets in Washington County shut down and will remain closed until March 27th.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf says that he has the authority to enforce closures, but expects his order to be self-enforced by area businesses.

He does not intend to use State Police or the National Guard to enforce closures.

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