A Ponoka store on March 17 was well-stocked except for one item: toilet paper. Signs on the shelves advised customers of the difficulty of keeping some items in stock and informed of a two-per-customer limit on toilet paper. Photo by Emily Jaycox

A Ponoka store on March 17 was well-stocked except for one item: toilet paper. Signs on the shelves advised customers of the difficulty of keeping some items in stock and informed of a two-per-customer limit on toilet paper. Photo by Emily Jaycox

How Ponoka retailers are coping with current COVID-19 crisis

Several local stores announce ‘Golden Hour’ shopping times

Local residents are becoming frustrated with the lack of availability of certain items, but people in Ponoka may not be the ones to blame.

Ponoka senior Dallas Ruggles went to a local store at 9 a.m. on March 20, just trying to find a can of tomatoes, but found a store full of people she didn’t recognize, and assumed they must be from out of town.

“It makes me mad,” said Ruggles.

“There’s nothing here, and we’re not hoarding, we’re just buying regular groceries.”

Other people she spoke with were having similar issues.

At another store, there were people lined up at the door.

“This is stupid,” she said, adding it’s not fair that the people who actually live here can’t get what they need.

READ MORE: Letter: Reader is disgusted with hoarders

A number of local businesses have started holding early dedicated shopping hours for seniors or those with disabilities or mobility issues — so-called ‘Golden Hour’ shopping times.

Gord’s No Frills

Gord Lodge, owner of Gord’s No Frills, was able to confirm that its dedicated shopping hour for seniors or those with other challenges will be from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Ponoka Shoppers Drug Mart

Ponoka Shoppers Drug Mart is dedicating its first hour of the day, 9 to 10 a.m., to seniors to allow them to shop in a “clean and calm” environment.

Shoppers is asking the rest of the general public to respect that time, and hold off on their shopping until after 10 a.m. Seniors also receive a 20 per cent discount from 9 to 10 a.m.

The pharmacy will also deliver prescriptions. Delivery services may eventually be extended to other items, with a nominal charge, if the situation with coronavirus becomes more prevalent locally.

Ponoka Shoppers owner Hiren Parmar says there has been an increase in purchases of toilet paper and food essentials, and some items have been difficult to keep in stock.

Staff have been advised to keep a safe distance and are sanitizing on an hourly basis.

Hamilton’s IGA

Starting on Sunday, March 22, Hamilton’s IGA will be adjusting its store hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the first hour being dedicated to seniors and those with disabilities or mobility issues.

There will be a dedicated staff member assigned to help with finding and fetching items or carts for shoppers during that hour.

IGA is now sanitizing high-touch surfaces such as doors, handles, knobs, front of shelves and counters, on a daily basis.

If any employees have cold or flu symptoms, they are not being permitted to come to work.

Owner Jim Hamilton says they’ve had no trouble with customers, and if anything, he’s seen people come together in cooperation.

In one instance, he witnessed a group of customers buy a pack of toilet paper together and split it amongst themselves.

“All I’ve seen are people working together, pulling together, to get us all through this,” said Hamilton in an interview March 19.

Employees are tired as they are working “phenomenally hard,” says Hamilton, and customers are understandably stressed and scared.

“Overall, it’s been very, very positive.”

READ MORE: Resist the urge to panic shop despite COVID-19 fears, Trudeau says

Makkinga Market

Makkinga Market is another local retailer of food items that is taking further precautions and offering additional services.

The store posted on its Facebook page that they’re “doing our best to keep things disinfected in our store and also want to make shopping easier for you.”

Customers can call in their orders and staff will have them ready for them to pick up.

Ponoka Health Foods

Kathy Masters, owner of Ponoka Health Foods, has also seen an increased demand for certain natural products and cleaners.

“I feel the Ponoka Health Foods is one of the essential stores for the public,” said Masters.

“We are taking COVID-19 very seriously and doing all we can to keep our customers safe,” she said.

“We are planning to stay open to support the community however we can, supplying them with options from making their own hand sanitizer, vitamins and food choices.

“I do feel this virus has impacted the store by the rapid onset of it and not having the time to prepare and stock items people have been requesting.

“We feel for all that are struggling at this time and we are very proud of how our community is doing its part to stop the spread of this virus.”

Editor’s Note: Some local retailers contacted by Ponoka News were unable to provide comment due to corporate policy.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

50.5% of all active cases are variants of concern

File photo
A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Alberta meat plant, site of COVID-19 outbreak last year, to get vaccination clinics

Nearly half of the 2,200 workers at the Cargill facility contracted the novel coronavirus and two employees died last April

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, left, Grand Chief Arthur Noskey, centre and Chief Aaron Young during a meeting with First Nations Chiefs and Grand Chiefs in Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta must retract Forest Act before it becomes law: Treaty 8 grand chief

‘We are asking (the government) to pull this back and consult with us,’ says Arthur Noskey of Treaty 8 First Nations

Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the United Conservative government’s draft elementary school curriculum pilot this fall. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
Calgary school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

Other school boards including Edmonton Public, Edmonton Catholic, Elk Island Public, Wild Rose, Medicine Hat Public, Medicine Hat Catholic and Lethbridge Public have also rejected it

A cross made out of hockey sticks at a makeshift memorial is silhouetted against the setting sun at the intersection of a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., on Monday, April, 9, 2018. A virtual tribute is planned to mark the third anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VIDEO: Humboldt Broncos team to be honoured on third anniversary of fatal bus crash

16 people died and 13 were injured when a semi-trailer ran a stop sign into the path of the hockey team’s bus

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Stettler’s own Renegade Station is kicking off the spring season with a brand new single - to be released April 9th. (Photo submitted)
A brand new single is on the way from Stettler-based band Renegade Station

Free Free Free hits all streaming platforms on April 9th

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau waits for a virtual meeting to begin with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ottawa, Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Ottawa mulls exempting more workers from Canada-U.S. border shutdown: Garneau

Canada-U.S. border has been closed to people travelling for vacations and other non-essential visits since March 2020

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls: Statistics Canada

Figure released this morning outpaced the 259,000 gain seen in February

FILE - This file photo dated July 10, 1947 shows the official photograph of Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and her fiance, Lieut. Philip Mountbatten in London. Buckingham Palace says Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died aged 99. (AP Photo/File)
Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 99

Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16

Campbell River city council will continue its 2020 policy of waiving late fees and NSFs. (Mirror File photo)
53% of Canadians teetering the brink of insolvency: survey

A majority of Canadians admit they’re just $200 away from not being able to pay their monthly bills

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney listens as the 2021 budget is delivered in Edmonton Alta, on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Kenney faces criticism from doctors, his own caucus, over new COVID-19 health rules

Alberta now has more than 10,000 active cases, about 43 per cent are variants

Most Read