County of Marin - News Releases - Shopping Hours

For Immediate Release
March 18, 2020

New Shopping Hours Recommended for Seniors

Public Health urges Marin businesses to help reduce anxiety

San Rafael, CA – To protect the most vulnerable local residents from the COVID-19 virus, Marin County Public Health recommends that grocery stores and other retail stores that sell essential items reserve an interval at the start of each day to allow seniors privileged access to shopping.

Marin County issued a shelter-in-place order on March 16 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The recommended measure on shopping, combined with the previously issued guidance on disinfection for businesses, will help make retail settings less of a risk of infection for seniors and prevent wider mingling within the community.

The sheltering order indicates that travel outside the home is allowable to obtain essential goods and services, including groceries. It is strongly recommended that residents 65 and older and those with weakened immune systems use home delivery options whenever possible. However, there will be occasions where that is not possible, and the new shopping recommendation is intended to ensure a safer experience for seniors who need to shop.

Marin County has among the largest populations of older residents in the state, with nearly 30% residents above age 65. The demographic mix increases overall community risk to virus exposure.

Approaches to the shopping recommendation taken elsewhere include opening early for hours reserved for seniors or dedicating the earliest hour(s) of regular business time to seniors. The decision to adhere to this recommendation is strictly up to the essential stores in Marin and will not be enforced as part of the Public Health Order.

“Although this is not a mandate, it is a recommendation to join the communitywide response and reduce anxiety for our older residents,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer.


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website