(Meredith) -- In response to the novel coronavirus epidemic, Target announced it would be changing the operating hours of its stores across the country and dedicating the first few store hours to its more vulnerable customers once a week.

Target store

Beginning Wednesday, all Target stores will close by 9 p.m. local time. The company said in a press release Tuesday the early closures will give its employees more time to clean and restock the store. Any stores that close earlier than 9 p.m. will continue to close at their normal time.

The company also said it would introduce a dedicated shopping hour every Wednesday for more vulnerable customers, including seniors and those with underlying illnesses. Beginning this Wednesday, the first operational hour of every Wednesday shopping day will be dedicated for older and more vulnerable customers to meet their shopping needs before any later crowds take to the stores.

Target’s decision comes after Dollar General announced a change in operational hours as well as dedicated shopping hour to seniors. Health officials say people who are older or with underlying illnesses are more susceptible to the novel coronavirus.

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