SAULT STE. MARIE -- Rome’s Independent grocery store in Sault Ste. Marie is one of many businesses across the country to change its hours due to the global pandemic.

This store's change is to help a particularly vulnerable group in our society, seniors.

Usually, the store opens at 8 a.m., however, as a result of COVID 19 and grocery stores being busier than normal, management decided to open at 7 a.m. exclusively for seniors to shop.

"We opened the doors an hour earlier than we normally do for the senior community," said Victor Bossio, store manager. "To give them the advantage of avoiding the big crowds, for them, because it's challenging, it's a challenging time for them right now."

Thursday was the second day of the new hours and Bossio says it has been a hit with seniors.

Many other grocery stores and businesses around northern Ontario are starting to offer the new "seniors only" hour of shopping to start the day.

On Monday, Galen Weston, the executive chairman of Loblaw Companies, announced that some of his company’s Loblaws grocery stores and Shopper Drug Mart pharmacies would open early for seniors and people living with disabilities so they can shop before the crowds.

“We all agree that food and drug stores are essential services and we must do what we need to in order to keep them operating and serving every community in the days and weeks ahead,” he wrote in a statement.

We will have more on this story later today.