Hypermarkets in Malaysia are opening their doors earlier for senior citizens and the disabled to shop in a less crowded environment in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This as Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday night declared that the entire country would be on a movement control order starting from March 18-31 to deal with the rise in Covid-19 cases.

Mydin managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin says the hypermarket will open at 7.30am daily beginning March 18 to provide a comfortable shopping experience for senior citizens and the disabled.

Ameer says dedicated payment lanes will be set up for the special group while staff will be on standby to provide assistance.

Similarly, Jaya Grocer will introduce special opening hours from 9.30am onwards at all outlets for elderly customers and their caretakers.

Hypermarkets elsewhere are also implementing similar initiatives.

Australian's largest grocery chain Woolworths says it is opening its stores an hour early for its elderly and disabled customers.

According to a statement on its website, the move is prompted by the unprecedented demand in its stores over the past week, which has seen many elderly and vulnerable people in the community missing out on vital items they may need when they shop.

In Ireland, Tesco and Iceland supermarket chains are introducing dedicated shopping hours each morning for older and vulnerable customers.