Supermarkets change social distancing rules with one way systems and vulnerable hours scrapped

10 July 2020, 10:03

Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda have updated their social distancing rules
Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda have updated their social distancing rules. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Shopping rules have been updated for Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Iceland.

With lockdown restrictions starting to ease in the UK, supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsbury’s have made changes to their social distancing rules at stores.

Tesco will continue to monitor how many customers are allowed in their shops, but some stores will increase capacity in the coming weeks.

We are still encouraged to be shopping alone if possible, but if you need to bring your children or carer, this is now allowed.

The supermarket chain has also confirmed that its one-way systems have been scrapped, but they will still have floor markings to show shoppers how to stay two metres apart.

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Tesco has also upped its item limit to 95 as stocks are now returning to normal. In March, there was an 80-item limit per customer to stop stockpiling.

However, there are still stricter limits for some items - including a three-per-person on face coverings, antibacterial handwash, antibacterial wipes, flour, and eggs when buying online.

Tesco will still keep dedicated elderly and vulnerable shopping hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9am until 10am.

NHS workers will also have priority hours every Tuesday and Thursday between 9am and 10am.

Sainsbury’s will still have a limit on the number of people allowed in their stores at one time, with one adult from each family allowed to enter.

NHS workers and care workers will be able to have priority entry from 7.30am to 8am Monday to Saturday.

Supermarket shelves in March
Supermarket shelves in March. Picture: Getty

Asda recently announced plans to extend its opening hours, with some shops open from 7am to midnight once again.

However, they have scrapped its priority hours for vulnerable and key worker groups. It will instead offer priority entry to NHS staff and care workers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 9am.

Aldi has also relaxed their rules, allowing families and couples to shop together.

A statement on their website reads: "In order to help with social distancing, we are encouraging all customers to try and reduce the number of family members they bring with them into our stores.

"Of course, we ask that all store staff use their discretion with children and parents."

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Frozen food chain Iceland has also changed shopping hours for vulnerable groups, explaining that this is now at the discretion of managers.

A statement on their website says: “We haven't cancelled our priority hours for elderly people; these are still offered from 8am-9am in all The Food Warehouse stores, and at the discretion of our Iceland store managers where sufficient local demand exists.

“In some stores the priority period is no longer required as elderly and vulnerable customers have heeded the Government's advice to stay at home, supplies have normalised and panic buying has subsided.

"This means that stores are better stocked throughout the day and there is no longer any particular advantage to customers in shopping first thing in the morning; they may well prefer to visit during the afternoon, when stores are usually quieter.”