Cereal, toilet paper, bread milk, flour — customers were filling up and buying items at Palmer’s Market in Darien at all times of the day on Monday, March 16, according to owner Greg Palmer.

“Customers have been great. Business has been steady,” Palmer said. “They’ve been coming in early, trying to get the first deliveries when we open at 7 a.m. It’s been crazy all the time.”

One by one, the town of Darien, as many other towns and cities across the state and country, have issued a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Grocery stores and pharmacies are now among the only businesses remaining open in town.

Governor Lamont has ordered the temporary closure of all bars, restaurants, gyms, fitness centers and similar public exercise studios, and movie theaters. Restaurants and bars that serve food will be temporarily required to move to takeout and delivery service only. Bars that do not serve food will be temporarily required to close.

Palmer said the store plans to remain open throughout the crises.

“They are coming in for all the staples — anything they can get their hands on,” he added.

Other groceries in town have changed their hours at this time, such as Trader Joe’s. On Trader Joe’s website is a statement that says beginning Monday, March 16, and until further notice, all Trader Joe’s stores will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. “to support our crew members in taking care of one another and their customers.”

Stop & Shop has changed its hours to accommodate older adults. On their website, a statement says there are new store hours for customers age 60 and older.

According to the statement, for all neighbors who are most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, beginning Thursday, March 19, all Stop & Shop stores will open earlier in order to service only customers who are age 60. These hours will be from 6 to 7:30 a.m. daily.

“We’re making the decision to offer this every day of the week to allow for community members in this age category to shop in a less crowded environment, which better enables social distancing. They’ll also be shopping prior to any other customers entering,” the statement said.

Darien resident Peter Eder and his wife Kathy, who are very active in the senior community, have just returned from a two-week trip to Hawaii, and are self-quarantining in their home for 14 days.

“Our daughter came to our home yesterday and stocked us up on food,” he said.

He said the most difficult part for seniors during this crises will be the isolation from fellow seniors.

“Hopefully, we’ll use the the telephone and Skype to talk to each other,” he said.

Eder is a volunteer with Darien Library’s AARP's Tax Preparation and Assistance program. The Darien Library is now closed until further notice.

He also volunteers at the state on senior advocacy issues. They are “moving to online communications, starting this week,” he said.

He said his generation has lived through other serious viruses in the past, such as polio.

“When I was young, you couldn’t go to the movie theater and swimming pools,” he said. “It was very contagious.”

While he said society today is fortunate to have social media, it tends to panic people, which is not good.

He advised the public to “listen to the health authorities, and do what they say.”

sfox@darientimes.com