Coronavirus: what are supermarkets doing to impose social distancing?

  1. BTI report

New social removal regulations are in place in British supermarkets. Credit: PA / ITV

With the country in bulk, people are told to stay at least two meters apart and to leave the house only if necessary.

Supermarkets have taken measures to enforce the rules, with some limiting the number of people allowed into stores, while others have indicators on the floors around the crowded areas to show people how far they should stay.

What are the major UK supermarkets doing to enforce social distancing rules?

Customers lined up two meters away outside a Sainsburys store in Bristol. Credit: PA

In a letter to customers, Sainsbury CEO Mike Coupe said that the number of people allowed into stores and ATMs at any one time will be limited.

He said queuing systems will be put in place outside of stores and people are invited to arrive during the day to prevent long lines from forming in the morning and encourage people to pay by card.

“We will remind people in stores to keep a safe distance from other customers and our colleagues,” added Coupe.

In the previous days, this was done through pre-recorded tannoy ads played every few minutes.

Some stores had staff members standing in the doorway, only allowing a number of customers inside at a time.

Coupe said that the checkout number will be reduced and screens will be introduced to protect staff.

The chain has reduced the number of available checkouts and screens installed to protect staff serving customers.

It has also reduced its opening hours, with many stores now only open from 8:00 to 20:00.

Tesco introduced the tape into its warehouses to enforce social distancing. Credit: PA

Tesco’s boss, Dave Lewis, wrote to customers saying that staff will design new floor markings in the payment areas, install security screens on checkouts and introduce one-way corridors.

“Our social spacing plans aim to protect customers from the moment they enter our parking lots, to product browsing, payment and finally leaving our stores,” he wrote.

He said queuing systems will be put in place outside of stores and people are invited to arrive during the day to prevent long lines from forming in the morning and encourage people to pay by card.

Most of its larger Extra stores are now open from 6am to 10pm.

Asda said his delivery people are using contactless drop offs during the pandemic. Credit: PA

Asda said it will introduce screens around the checkouts to protect staff in the coming days, adding that social exclusion measures that limit the number of people in its stores at any time would be used “where necessary”.

Floor markers have been added to key shop areas to outline two meters between customers, the supermarket said in a note on its website.

The brand has already reduced store opening hours to 8: 00-20: 00, Monday to Saturday, to help staff clean and completely replenish the shelves.

In addition to offering special hours for NHS workers, he placed limits on the number of items of certain products that can be ordered in the store.

For customers who can achieve home delivery, it has introduced contactless drop-offs, while staff have access to masks and hand sanitizer.

Customers queue outside a Morrison store in Whitley Bay, adhering to new social distance regulations. Credit: PA

In a statement to ITV News, Morrisons said he is using marshalls to monitor and observe social distances in his stores and will be able to pause the flow of customers in the store if he deems it necessary.

In addition, floor vinyls are positioned to show customers how far they are two meters away and only every other crate is opened.

If the crates are busy, there will be dedicated queuing areas.

Morrisons has reduced opening hours, now allowing customers to shop from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday.

Sunday opening hours remain unchanged.

To help the NHS staff, Morrisons is allowing them to shop in the shop between 7 and 8 after viewing the health service ID.

Like others, the supermarket is facing unprecedented demand.

His website uses a queuing system, with over 152,000 waiting to access it on Thursday morning.

A sign of Coop in one of its stores in south London, which requires social distancing. Credit: ITV News

The cooperative has announced new measures to impose social distancing in its stores in an attempt to protect customers and staff from the spread of the coronavirus.

The retail giant has introduced a series of measures in all its 2,600 stores, including floor markers that will define a distance of one meter across the store and a distance of two meters for customer queues.

it also aims to limit the number of customers in stores at any time, as well as to reduce the number of open checkouts, to allow for greater distance between shoppers.

Waitrose is applying social distancing rules, like other supermarkets. Credit: PA

Waitrose said he is limiting the number of customers in his stores at any time, with marshalls applying social distancing rules.

Like other supermarkets, it is introducing floor signage to further strengthen the message.

Shields were also placed around the crates to protect workers from the spread of Covid-19.

The brand asks that only one customer or family occupy one passage at a time.

Encourage customers to make cashless and contactless purchases to avoid unnecessary contact.

Waitrose stores put aside some of the hard-to-find and essential products exclusively for the staff of the NHS, for the production of an SSN card.

It also provides a priority checkout service for NHS staff to ensure that they are able to get through as quickly and easily as possible.

Aldi installed screens at the checkout to protect its staff. Credit: Aldi

Aldi has introduced a series of new measures to encourage effective social removal and to protect colleagues and customers in the shop.

It is introducing plastic screens to over 7,000 cases across the country.

Like its rivals, it is installing two-meter markers on store floors to encourage responsible social distancing at the checkout.

Customers are encouraged to use contactless payments such as credit cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay where possible instead of using cash.

Shorter opening hours and in-store notices are used to further strengthen social distance and allow staff to restock safely.

Customers queuing outside a Lidl store in South London. Credit: PA

In a statement to ITV News, Lidl said: “We have implemented a crowd control system to try and manage the social distance within our stores.

“One of the measures we are introducing as part of this is the placement of security guards or team members designated at the store’s entrances to monitor the volume of people entering at the same time.

“We also launched a series of clear communication materials in all our stores, reminding customers of the importance of keeping a distance of two meters from each other when shopping.

“We are also implementing cashier protection screens in all our stores, which will be present this week, to provide extra guarantees for colleagues and customers.”

Coronavirus: everything you need to know

Last updated Thu 26 Mar 2020

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