JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sheriff Bill Leeper said he’s stationing more deputies outside grocery and convenience stores in Nassau County during senior citizen shopping hours, which many stores have implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leeper said he has not received any official reports of older shoppers being taken advantage of, but he’s heard that it’s a worry among some shoppers that it could happen, and he’s having some extra deputies patrol during busy hours.
To try and avoid empty shelves and crowded lines, Kenneth Wright is taking advantage of the senior shopping hours. He likes knowing that deputies and lights will be stationed outside his grocery store.
“I think it’s a good idea, keeps everybody calm, makes us feel safer," Wright said.
Leeper said that during senior shopping hours, there’s a higher concentration of older residents who may be slower at shopping or not as aware of their surroundings.
“Some of our vulnerable, elderly seniors may be targeted while they are going shopping, you know, coming out of the door with toilet paper and paper towels and food that they need at home," Leeper said.
Leeper is trying to have a deputy or two come out every day at those times and then throughout the day at other busy hours. Personnel will just be patrolling the parking lot and keeping an eye out.
People who live in Nassau County might see illuminated signs on the road urging people with questions about COVID-19 to called the Emergency Operations Center at 904-548-0900.