When the UK went into lockdown we had to drastically change our ways pretty much overnight. Now we’re heading into week six, and things like grocery shopping are very different experiences.
In order to help control the spread of coronavirus, Brits were told to only leave the house when necessary and to do their food shopping as infrequently as possible.
Supermarkets also brought in strict measures to protect the health and safety of both staff and customers.
These included things such as one-way systems, protective screens at tills, and queueing outside the shop as the number of people allowed in was limited.
It can be difficult to keep track of the measures in place for each supermarket, so we’ve put together a handy list to outline the measures in place for each supermarket to keep everyone safe.
Supermarket giant Tesco has been working hard to ensure that everyone can safely access the food and essentials that they need.
To say that it’s been difficult to get an online delivery slot recently would be an understatement, but Tesco is increasing the number of slots available, and setting aside slots to make sure that the most vulnerable, who cannot shop in-store safely, can get access to their essentials.
In store, Tesco has shared a number of social distancing measures which are being introduced in stores across the country.
- Tesco staff may help customers with where to park their car on arrival, to help limit the number of people in-store
- Customers may be asked to stay in their car to queue, particularly if it’s raining or particularly cold, with staff letting them know when it’s their turn
- Floor markings in car parks will be used to help people keep a safe distance when queueing
- Where necessary, the flow of people coming into stores will be limited to ensure they don’t get too busy
- Hand sanitisers are being placed around stores for customer and staff use, as well as extra cleaning products for wiping down trolleys and baskets
- Directional floor markings and new signs in some stores are being introduced to create a safe flow of traffic, as well as floor markings by checkouts to help keep a safe distance from others
- Where possible, the supermarket will be creating separate entrances and exits, so it’s easier to keep a safe distance from others
- People are encouraged to shop alone to help reduce the number of people in the store. Customers who need to bring children, or shop with a carer, are still welcome to do so.
- Those who are able to visit stores are being asked not to shop online so slots can be reserved for those most in need
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On their website, Asda says that “the UK is now a rapidly changing and uncertain landscape”, going on to say that coronavirus “has impacted every avenue of our lives and altered the way we live” and so the supermarket has been changing the way they work to help adapt to life in lockdown.
A number of measures have been put in place for those who are able to shop in-store in an attempt to try and keep stores running smoothly while keeping staff and customers safe.
Store opening hours have temporarily been reduced to 8am – 10pm Monday to Saturday to ensure staff have time to clean and fully re-stock shelves ready for customers. You can check your local store opening times on the Asda Store Locator, which is updated with the latest information.
NHS staff and care workers are working hard on the frontlines to help fight coronavirus, and so to support their vital work, Asda is prioritising them in larger stores with dedicated shopping hours.
These are Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8am and 9am, as well as Sundays from 9am to 10am for browsing.
To make sure that there is enough for everyone, and we don’t see a repeat of the panic buyers emptying shelves, purchase limits will occasionally be put in place on certain products that are in high demand, to ensure there is enough for everyone.
In order to focus on getting essential products to customers, Asda is temporarily closing non-essential services, such as rotisserie and pizza counters. This is to make more space in warehouses for essential services and support colleagues stacking shelves and working on tills.
Where necessary, Asda has said they will be limiting the number of customers in their stores at any one time, and are asking people to please stick to one adult per trolley where possible.
Contactless payments are also encouraged, with the supermarket encouraging the use of their Scan&Go app, which allows you to scan your items using your mobile and pack as you go – which reduces the amount of things you have to touch in store.
Sainsbury’s is asking people to shop throughout the day and avoid busy times such as in the morning.
The number of people in stores and at their cash machines is being limited, with queueing systems in place outside stores to maintain social distancing.
There are also markers on the floor in many stores to encourage and remind people to maintain a safe distance of 2m from others and people are being asked to send one adult per household to reduce numbers – though children are welcome if they are not able to stay home.
Many stores altered and reduced opening hours, and Sainsbury’s supermarkets will be open from 8am until 8pm Monday to Saturday.
The number of checkouts in supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations have also been reduced and customer areas of their stores are being regularly sanitised.
People are being encouraged to pay by card as much as possible and to only use cash at self-service tills.
Customers can also use the SmartShop on their own devices, which means less interaction with other customers and colleagues and less time queueing to pay.
While it has started to sell food parcels online, Aldi is still a primarily in-store experience.
They have announced on their website that NHS, police and fire service workers will take priority ahead of queues all day, every day with valid ID.
Most stores are now open until 10pm now, and Aldi is encouraging people to shop at quieter times – with the busiest times apparently being late morning, and the quietest times between 7pm and 10pm.
Trolley and basket cleaning stations have been introduced across stores, and 2m distance markers have been placed on the floors at checkouts.
Aldi is also asking customers to buy only what they need, to avoid stockpiling and panic buying, as stores are replenished every day.
Morrisons, like many other supermarkets, has introduced an NHS hour. From 6am – 7am Monday to Saturday, and from 9am on Sunday, all colleagues with an NHS badge will be able to get into the store to do their shopping.
There is also a one trolley per customer operation in place to ensure shoppers follow the latest government advice. It means that only one member of a household should be going out for the essential shop.
Stickers have also been placed on the floor to remind people of the social distancing rules.
Staff are also controlling the number of people allowed into the supermarket at any one time to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
In order to maintain safe social distancing, a crowd control system has been put in place.
This includes security guards or staff at the entrances of stores during the busiest times of the day, to keep track of the number of customers in the store at any one time.
There are also reminders throughout stores to keep a 2m distance from others while shopping.
Purchasing limits have now been restricted on all items, and the supermarket has reverted to their previous policy of allowing customers to purchase ‘usual household’ quantities.
A traffic light system has been put in place, indicating that the busiest times are between 8am and 11am, with an average number of customers between 11am and 2pm and the quietest times being between 2pm and close.