Fareway was packed with patrons on Monday after announcements from the state concerning the spread of COVID-19.

County Editor/ Digital Journalist

Fareway, currently Vinton’s largest grocer, announced new hours and changes coming as spread of COVID-19 has led to the state declaring an emergency.

“At Fareway, the safety and health of our customers and employees is of utmost importance,” Fareway Stores Inc. wrote in a recent release. “We have already activated internal protocols, which include increased sanitation measures, store-cleaning frequency, and the availability of hand sanitizer and wipes, among other measures. As we work to navigate the evolving situation, and provide for the needs of our customers, Fareway will adopt new store hours.”

Vinton Fareway will be open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with the early closing allowing for “additional cleaning and sanitation measures in our stores, as well as time for restocking inventory.” The first hour of business from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. will be reserved for customers “who are 65 and over, expecting mothers, those living with a serious chronic medical condition, and anyone with an underlying medical condition that increases the susceptibility to serious illness from COVID-19” according to the release.

“Fareway continues to work closely with state, local, and healthcare partners on mitigation, and are following appropriate recommendations from these organizations…We appreciate the advance cooperation from our customers in respecting the hour reserved for those that are at higher risk.”

Lines were busy on Monday after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds recommended that public schools close for four weeks in response to the spread of the virus. Residents such as Ron Rommann went to the store to pick up essentials and noted that items were in short supply as others took too much toilet paper.

“There needs to be a system to limit everyone, so everybody gets some,” Rommann said. “There’s no need for everyone to take all wipes. They were sold out of rice.

Kris Johnson shopped for supplies at Fareway and agreed with Romman that a system should be put into place to limit customers from hoarding.

“I can see why they do it,” Johnson said. “14 days can be a lot for a family. This is hardest on families with children trying to figure out what they need to do.”

For more information about Fareway’s hours and changes, go to fareway.com.