VICTORIA -- As grocery store shelves in some B.C. communities are being picked bare, a Vancouver Island-based grocery store chain is launching exclusive hours for seniors. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Quality Foods has announced that it will reserve its first two hours of service for seniors and other vulnerable customers. 

Store hours will officially change on Monday, March 23 to allow for seniors-only shopping between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

“We are all in this together,” said Quality Foods president Noel Hayward. “We are trying to create a safer time to shop.”

Announced in a Facebook post Monday, the Oceanside-based grocery chain asked that the general public not come during the new early morning hours.

“It’s not meant for us to be the age police. This is for a safe time for people to shop,” Hayward told CTV News.

Quality Foods is asking for people with elderly or immunocompromised family members to share these new hours with them. 

Quality foods has 12 Vancouver Island locations.