Hoboken Trader Joe's, Walgreens Set Rules Amid Coronavirus

This article originally appeared on the Hoboken Patch

HOBOKEN, NJ — As various supermarkets have done throughout the area, Hoboken's Trader Joe's and Walgreen's have designated specific hours for seniors to get preference in line, so the stores are stocked and less crowded when they shop. However, other shoppers can still use the stores.

"I’m thankful to Trader Joe’s and Walgreens for creating designated shopping hours for seniors, which I know will be well utilized," said Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a nightly coronavirus update on Monday. "Between 9 and 10 a.m. on a daily basis, seniors will be given preference to enter the store ahead of other customers, and will have a designated line outside of the store. During this hour, the store won’t be closed to all other customers, but rather seniors will be given preference to enter the store."

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Bhalla noted, "Trader Joe’s is instituting a 50-person occupancy limit as well, with only half of the registers remaining open in order to create social distancing."

Of Walgreens, he said, "Walgreens has also created an hour specifically for seniors (55 and older) between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. every Tuesday, beginning tomorrow."

Bhalla suggested that people limit trips to the stores, and visit their local bodega if larger stores are out of items they need.

In a more recent email on Wednesday evening, Bhalla also updated the number of confirmed cases in the city. He said that there are 40.

"The Hoboken Health Department reported 11 new confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 today," he wrote, "a male and female in their mid 70s, a female in her late 40s, two males in their early 40s, a female in her mid 30s, a female in her early 30s, a male in his early 30s, a female in her late 20s, a male in his mid 20s, and a male without an age specified."

He added, "None of the 11 reported individuals were hospitalized, while there are 40 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hoboken. This increase in confirmed cases is not a surprise, as with more tests being done, more positive cases get reported. This is a trend that is unfortunately occurring across the country."

Many people are still waiting on testing and test results. Hoboken has one testing center within its borders. Testing centers in other parts of the state had to close early due to lack of tests.

Residents who have questions about the virus can call 211 or contact the State of New Jersey's hotline at 1 (800) 222-1222.

Experts say that the novel coronavirus, because it's new, is more lethal and much harder to treat than the flu.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that include the common cold as well as much more serious diseases. The strain that emerged in China in late 2019, now called COVID-19, is related to others that have caused serious outbreaks in recent years, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was on Jan. 21.

Got a news tip in Hoboken? Email caren.lissner@patch.com.

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