Major UK supermarkets have now started to introduce social distancing measures in their stores across the country.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and ASDA, amongst others, are all using similar plans of action to try and help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease such as;
- Asking customers to pay by card when possible
- Introducing screens at manned checkouts
- Issuing hand sanitiser to checkouts at all stores for staff
- Redeploying colleagues who are vulnerable to the virus, where possible.
A spokesperson for Tesco has said: “The safety of our customers, colleagues is our number one priority.
“We have strict health and safety processes in place in our stores and we are directing all colleagues to follow Public Health England guidance on how to keep themselves, fellow colleagues and customers, safe.”
While Sainsbury’s have not yet put signs or tape up to help encourage social distancing, they say that they will soon have reminders throughout their stores telling customers to keep a safe distance of two meters apart.
They have also said that they are actively reviewing the best options for queuing systems inside and outside their stores and will implement the safest measures as soon as they can.
As well as expanding home delivery services to increase slots to help those most vulnerable affected by the virus, Morrisons is launching a customer call centre for orders to be taken over the phone so that people who do not shop online can still order food.
To support the roll-out of their home delivery expansion plan, they expect to recruit roughly 2,500 pickers and drivers.
David Potts, Chief Executive of Morrisons, said: “We expect the days, weeks and months ahead to be very testing and we are determined to do our bit.”
A spokesperson for ASDA has now confirmed that as of March 25, they will also introduce their own range of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
These include adding markers on the floor to help customers keep their distance, limiting the number of customers in its stores, with colleagues at the front of the store to greet people, with hand sanitiser available upon entry and exit of the shop.
In addition to this, they ask customers only touch what they purchase, and to use cashless payment methods wherever possible.
Speaking of the measures being undertaken, CEO and President Roger Burnley commented:
“It has never been more important for us to work together to keep our distance.
“I want you to know that everyone at Asda is working tirelessly to make sure you have the essentials your family needs and that you can shop in our stores safely if you need to visit us.”
In response to the general public panic buying and clearing shelves of essential products, supermarkets have also created a policy meaning that a customer will only be able to buy three of any product, and two crucial items like baby milk and toilet roll.
There are also new designated shopping hours for the elderly and NHS workers, to allow them to shop with less risk of contracting the disease and access products that may otherwise have been sold out.
Introduced on March 22, NHS staff are able to go to larger Tesco stores one hour before the usual opening time every Sunday, being able to browse the store and select their shopping before the checkouts open when they bring a form of ID, such as an NHS staff card with them.
According to the Public Health England COVID-19 dashboard, there are currently 25 confirmed cases in Salford, out of a total of 496 cases in the North West.
With 6,650 people contracting the virus in the UK alone, the current death toll stands at 335.
135 people, fortunately, have recovered so far.