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H-E-B and Central Market extend Austin store hours during COVID-19 pandemic

H-E-B and Central Market extend Austin store hours during pandemic

H-E-B Heights exterior
H-E-B is extending store hours after limiting them in March. Photo by Dave Rossman

H-E-B is extending store hours for its grocery stores and pharmacies, the company recently announced. Beginning Monday, April 27, H-E-B stores will open at 7 am and close at 10 pm, until further notice. H-E-B pharmacies will open from 8 am-8 pm.

Austin's Hancock location, which normally operates 24 hours, will also operate from 7 am-10 pm.

Central Market, Mi Tienda, and Joe V's Smart Shop, all owned by the San Antonio-based company, will also offer extended daily hours. Also beginning on April 27, Central Market stores will open from 8 am-10 pm; Mi Tienda locations will open from 7 am-10 pm; and Joe V's Smart Shop will remain open from 7 am-10 pm.

"Our top priority remains protecting the health and safety of our Partners and customers. Even with our extended hours, our stores remain diligent in following H-E-B’s strict hygiene and sanitation measures as well as proper social distancing protocols," the company said in a release.

H-E-B said it has also formed dedicated teams trained to ensure sanitation and social distancing measures are in place, and it is requiring all employees in customer-facing roles to wear face masks.

In March, H-E-B shortened hours for both stores and pharmacies in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic (and subsequent rush of shoppers to supermarkets). H-E-B said it has since strengthened the supply chain, thus improving its capacity to help customers, but it will continue to follow guidance and advice from medical professionals and the Centers for Disease Control.

H-E-B's plan also coincides with Texas' plan to "reopen" the state in coming weeks. Emboldened by the slowdown of COVID-19 after social distancing measures were implemented in mid-March, Texas Governor Greg Abbott outlined his plan last week, beginning with the reopening of state parks on April 20. 

"Because of the efforts by everyone, we're seeing glimmers that the worst of COVID-19 may soon be behind us," Abbott said in a press conference on April 17.