Save Mart supermarket. (Photo by David Prasad/Flickr)

Save Mart, Lucky and FoodMaxx grocery stores have begun to open their doors one hour early and keep them one hour later for first responders, according to store officials.

On Thursday, the Modesto-based Save Mart Companies with 205 stores across California and northern Nevada began the early openings and later closings for police, fire and health care personnel during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We want to give thanks to the dedicated, hardworking first responders throughout all our communities working the front lines during these extraordinary times,” Hal Levitt, Senior Vice President of Retail Operations for Save Mart Companies, said in a statement. “Medical, law and fire personnel are putting their lives on the line during this pandemic and we want to thank them and make their lives a little easier by extending these special dedicated shopping hours to them.”

The idea, Levitt said, came from conversations with local and regional first responders due to the impact of the pandemic on their schedules.

The company last week announced dedicated shopping hours for seniors and vulnerable populations every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.