Near empty shelves and eggs feeling like a luxury item my have become a strange 'new normal.' But, in the time of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, things move with all the velocity of Joe Wicks teaching kids PE at 9am every morning. So, what is the latest with the supermarkets?
To keep you dosed up on the latest, here's the most up-to-date information from all ten national supermarkets - on opening times, priority hours, online delivery service issues and more.
Remember: official advice is only to leave home for essential supplies (or for key worker travel to and from work), wherever possible shop online and minimise trips to the supermarkets.
How are the supermarkets coping with increased demands?
There is an ever growing number of measures being put into practice including limiting shoppers in store, markers on the floor to force people to social distance, plastic screens to help protect customers and staff, and measures to restrict use of cash.
If you were hoping for an easier time, doing your grocery shopping online, think again. At the moment you may have to wait weeks for an available slot as supermarkets struggle to cope with increased demand. You may even have to join a 'virtual' queue to log on and then again to shop.
1/ TESCO'S LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: All Tesco stores (except Express stores) will be prioritising the elderly and most vulnerable for one hour between 9am and 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. NHS staff will receive early access to large Tesco stores from 9 - 10am every Sunday.
Online deliveries: Customers will face difficulty getting a delivery slot, as Tesco is currently at full capacity for the next few weeks. The retailer is asking those who are able to safely come to stores to do so, instead of shopping online, so that it can start to free up more slots for the more vulnerable.
Social distancing: Tesco is introducing new floor markings to help people keep a safe distance from each other, encouraging contactless payments and implementing protective screens. Where necessary, the retailer will also be limiting the flow of people coming into stores to ensure they don’t get too congested.
2/ ASDA'S LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: From store opening until 9am, larger stores are available exclusively for the elderly and vulnerable. Anyone who is not elderly or vulnerable should wait until after 9am when shopping on these days. ASDA has also implemented extra measures to help NHS staff. Large ASDA stores will prioritise their access every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8-9am for NHS staff.
Online deliveries: Customers trying to order online are likely to receive an error message due to high-volume traffic. On its site, the retailer advises: ‘all available [delivery] slots will be displayed online and updated regularly. Please check on your online account for the nearest slot available.’
Social distancing: ASDA has introduced social distancing measures, including encouraging contactless payments, protective screens at checkout, floor markers and limiting people in store where necessary. The retailer will also be placing workers outside stores to encourage people to follow social-distancing measures.
3/ SAINSBURY'S LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: The first hour of shopping in Sainsbury’s stores will be dedicated to older and vulnerable people every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. NHS staff will also receive priority slots during the first half hour after stores open every day.
Online deliveries: Due to high-demand, Sainsbury's is not registering new customers for online deliveries. Although slots are very limited for existing customers, from March 24th customers who are elderly, vulnerable or disabled have been given priority access to online delivery slots via email. Sainsbury’s advises any customers who consider themselves to be elderly, vulnerable or disabled and have not received an email, to visit the Groceries Online website for information on how to contact us. For all other customers, the retailer has told us: ‘we are experiencing extremely high demand and advise that customers keep trying to contact us. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible and appreciate customers’ patience during these challenging times’. Sainsbury's is also operating an expanded ‘click and collect’ service.
Social distancing: The retailer is implementing social distancing measures, including closing every other payment point in our supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol filling stations to keep people further apart. It is also introducing protective screens at checkout, encouraging contactless payments and it is expecting to restrict the number of people allowed in stores at any one time.
4/ WAITROSE'S LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: The first opening hour in Waitrose supermarkets will be dedicated to elderly and vulnerable customers and their carers. To help NHS staff, the store is keeping ‘daily essentials’ aside for NHS Staff and giving them priority at checkout.
Online deliveries: No delivery slots are currently available on Waitrose’s website. In response to queries, it’s customer service team via Twitter stated: ‘we're experiencing an unprecedented demand right now, meaning delivery slots are quite a way in the future. We're working to increase our capacity and add more slots'.
Social distancing: Waitrose is implementing measures in stores by limiting the amount of people allowed in store at any one time, with workers being placed outside stores to encourage people to follow social distancing measures. The retailer is also encouraging contactless payments.
5/ ICELAND'S LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: Iceland has special measures in place for the elderly, vulnerable and NHS staff from Monday - Saturday. On these days, the first hour of trading is prioritised for elderly and vulnerable people and the final hour of trading is for NHS staff with ID.
Online deliveries: Iceland is now limiting online delivery slots to customers over the state pension age, those self isolating and other vulnerable people, such as the disabled. Anyone who doesn't fall under these categories is told to shop in store. Iceland warns demand for online deliveries is still very high and some items may be missing when deliveries arrive because of an increase in demand.
Social distancing: Iceland is encouraging people to pay using contactless card payments and has introduced protective screens at tills. It is also using lines on the floor at store checkouts to ensure that appropriate social distancing separation is maintained and, in line with government guidance, is setting agreed limits of between 40-80 people in stores, depending on the size of the store.
6/ LIDL'S LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: Lidl’s website states it is not implementing shopping hours for the elderly or NHS workers at stores in England, Scotland and Wales.
Online deliveries: Lidl does not offer online delivery.
Social distancing: Lidl is implementing social distancing measures by encouraging Contactless payments and putting up protective screens.
7/ ALDI LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: Aldi will open between 9.30am-10.00am on Sundays for workers in the NHS, Police and Fire Service. These groups will then have priority slots at the checkouts when they open at 10am. Currently, Aldi offers no special measures for the elderly.
Online deliveries: Aldi does not offer online delivery.
Social distancing: Aldi is installing two-metre markers on the floors of stores to encourage responsible social distancing at the checkout. It is also encouraging contactless payments and implementing protective screens for staff.
8/ MORRISONS' LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: From 7am to 8am, Monday to Saturday, NHS workers have a priority hour to shop at Morrisons. Currently, the retailer has no special measures for elderly or vulnerable customers.
Online deliveries: Customers may have difficulty getting onto the grocery site or finding a slot. The retailer has announced on Twitter that this is due to high traffic and technical issues and says it is working to address this.
Social distancing: Measures have been introduced, including encouraging contactless payment, protective screens in place for staff and floor stickers to keep people spaced apart.
9/ M&S' LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: At M&S, the first hour of trading on Mondays and Thursdays will be prioritised for elderly and vulnerable customers. The first hour of trading on Tuesdays and Fridays will be prioritised for NHS staff.
Online deliveries: M&S does not offer online delivery.
Social distancing: Workers are being placed outside M&S stores to encourage shoppers to follow social distancing rules and the retailer is managing the amount of customers allowed in store at any one time. Floor markings are being used to encourage social distancing and paying with contactless card is encouraged.
10/ CO-OP'S LOCKDOWN POLICY
Early opening: The retailer prioritises the elderly, vulnerable people and NHS staff from 8am – 9am Monday to Saturday, and 10am – 11am on Sundays.
Online deliveries: Co op has started offering deliveries. However, its advice on its website states: ‘some of our delivery slots are booked up at the moment. Keep checking back to see when more become available’. It also notes that, where slots are available, you will only be able to order up to 20 items.
Social distancing: Co op is implementing social distancing measures. This includes floor markers to define a one metre distance in front of kiosks and a two-metre spacing for customers queues, encouraging contactless payment where possible and reducing the number of tills to allow for greater amounts of space. The retailer will also aim to limit the number of customers in the store at any one time.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
According to the NHS website, the primary symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A fever
- A new, consistent cough
Other coronavirus symptoms that have been reported include:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- A headache
- Shortness of breath
- A loss of smell or taste
- Muscle pain
What should you do if you have symptoms of coronavirus?
If you have symptoms of coronavirus you should use the NHS 111 Coronavirus service online. People are being urged to only call 111 if they cannot get help online.
To avoid infecting others, do not go to a GP surgery or pharmacy if you suspect you have coronavirus.
If you need urgent medical help that you cannot get online, call 111. In an life-threatening emergency call 999 for an ambulance.
Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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