Toronto supermarket chain is now offering sensory-friendly shopping hours
One supermarket chain in Ontario is now more inclusive and accessible than ever, because all their locations in the province now have sensory-friendly shopping hours dedicated to those with autism.
According to Autism Ontario, many people with autism are hypersensitive to lights and sounds.
In order to make the shopping experience more pleasant and relaxing for those on the autism spectrum, Sobeys is getting rid of almost all in-store lights and sounds for two hours every week.
Some Sobeys stores offer ‘sensory friendly’ shopping hours for customers with #autism.— Special Olympics CAN (@SpecialOCanada) June 23, 2019
We’re so proud to have @Sobeys as a national partner.
Don’t forget you can make a donation to @SpecialOCanada when you check out with your groceries until July 3! https://t.co/GCgJy3TwIh pic.twitter.com/As7TiTkJY7
CityNews reported that Sobeys stores are turning down the lights, turning off the sounds of scanners, turning off the music and turning off announcements during the two hour period.
Staff are also encouraged to speak softly and grocery carts are not gathered during that time.
This isn't the first time public spaces have moved to further accommodate those with special needs.
Walked into a dark, quiet grocery store wondering if there was a power outage. Turns out every Sunday from 6-7pm each @sobeys store in NS is hosting sensory free shopping. @autismnovascotia— Claudine Bonner (@ClaudineBonner) April 14, 2019
Jacquelin Weatherbee, Sobeys Communication Director, told CityNews the hours also seem to also be helping those with other conditions, such as epilepsy and anxiety disorders.
On top of that, she said even those who may not need it have said they’ve enjoyed the shopping experience more.
According to Sobeys, sensory-friendly shopping hours are currently Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. but if the positive reception continues, those hours are likely to expand. Check with your store to ensure hours have not varied.
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