Responding to (COVID-19) DRC Sends letter to Grocery Store CEO’s

To ensure individuals with disabilities have access to the items they need.

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Responding to (COVID-19) DRC Sends letter to Grocery Store CEO’s

To ensure individuals with disabilities have access to the items they need

We want to thank you and the many other essential businesses that have remained open during this unprecedented pandemic.  Your businesses are providing necessary items to the community while we all navigate this crisis together.  I write to raise concerns that have arisen in our client community – individuals with disabilities – who are having trouble accessing your businesses and services.  When individuals with disabilities seek to obtain necessary items either by shopping in-person or through online orders with delivery services, they are not able to access the items as needed.

To address these concerns, we request two solutions: 1) as an in-store accommodation, create an hour of shopping for individuals who are higher-risk as identified under the CDC guidelines; and, 2) as an online delivery services accommodation, provide a checkbox option for higher-risk individuals to self-identify at the checkout to be prioritized for earlier delivery times.

First, we appreciate many stores have staggered shopping hours for individuals who are 60+ years of age, and believe this is a positive example of how to assist individuals who are vulnerable during this pandemic.  Based on the same concept, we request that you provide additional staggered times for the other CDC identified higher-risk groups.  For example, individuals who are immunocompromised are in the higher-risk group and do not always fall within the 60+ year of age category that your store is currently accommodating.  Setting aside additional times for these individuals would provide reasonable access to your stores. Without them, a trip to the grocery store could risk their lives.

Second, many individuals with disabilities who rely on delivery services for essential items are concerned that some necessary items are taking two or more weeks to be delivered.  Because these individuals with disabilities have no other means of obtaining these essential items, we ask that you prioritize their delivery orders.  To accomplish this, we recommend adding a checkbox to all delivery orders that allows individuals to self-identify as an individual with a disability or someone in the CDC higher-risk categories. Those orders should then be prioritized in your delivery service scheduling. This simple step would ensure that people who do not have the option to leave home, sometimes even without a stay at home order, can continue to receive the items they need to live.

Disability Rights California is the largest disability rights organization in California and the nation, and we are working to protect and advocate on behalf of our client community – individuals with disabilities. We thank you for your consideration and we are open to discussions about these issues or any other issues as they might affect individuals with disabilities. Please feel free to reach out to me at Andy.Imparato@DisabilityRightsCA.org or (443) 386-2935.

Sincerely,
Andrew J. Imparato
Executive Director
Disability Rights California