A lot of my constituents have recently been in touch to express their concerns about local supermarkets such as Tesco during the coronavirus outbreak - online orders, food supplies, shopping practices and hygiene are all issues that have been raised. I have contacted Tesco to share these concerns with them, and you can find some of the feedback and information I received from Tesco below.
Tesco have received an enormous increase in the number of customers attempting to shop online as a result of coronavirus. This is understandable - people want to stay safe and may be unable to go to the shops whilst self-isolating, and Tesco are working to increase their capacity to provide online deliveries. However, Tesco have requested that only those customers who are unable to visit the shops (i.e. those who cannot ask somebody to collect supplies on their behalf), should make use of online services. This will help to relieve capacity strain, and make sure that order slots are available for those who need them. Tesco are also working with the Government, local authorities and charities to ensure that vulnerable people have supplies delivered to them. Tesco have received an initial list of extremely vulnerable and isolated individuals from the existing Government database, and are working to match all of these customers to home delivery slots. The majority of those customers that Tesco are aware of have already been offered delivery slots. As ever, those who receive an NHS letter, or consider themselves vulnerable, should register their need for support here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable.
Hygiene and Social Distancing
Tesco stores are adding new floor markings in car parks and at checkouts, in order to help customers maintain safe distances whilst queuing, as well as limiting the flow of people entering shops where necessary to stop overcrowding. Hand sanitisers and extra cleaning products are being placed around stores for customers and colleagues to use whilst shopping and working, and protective screens are being added to tills. Separate entrances and exits will also be implemented wherever possible, to make sure everyone can maintain a safe distance during the coronavirus outbreak.
Certain products are currently in high demand, with some customers buying more items than they need. In order to help with this, Tesco have introduced purchase limits of 3 items on all products in store. This is to make sure everyone can get what they need, including vulnerable shoppers. In order to keep replenishing stock and meeting demand, Tesco have recruited 20,000 new workers on a temporary basis nationwide, and have closed dedicated deli, meat and fish counters so staff can lend a hand to stocking shelves. Delivery schedules will also be increased, and food delivery workers are being recognised as key workers. This means that those who require home delivery services will have expanded and streamlined options shortly.
Vulnerable Shoppers and NHS Staff: Shopping Slots In-Store
Vulnerable and elderly Tesco customers can now shop in a dedicated hour-long slot (9am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday). A separate dedicated shopping hour is being held for NHS workers on Sundays, and this is being closely monitored to make sure that our healthcare staff can get what they need as a priority.
This situation is a fast-moving one, and businesses such as Tesco are working hard to make sure local people can get the supplies they need. Patience and support from customers is crucial at this time, as these new systems will take time to run smoothly. It's therefore very important that you only buy the things you need, and remember to be kind to those who are working hard to keep supermarket shelves stocked.
Tesco have provided some advice for shoppers, which can be found below:
- Please check your stores opening hours in advance.
- Before you leave home, please bring enough bags for your shop. If it’s raining, don’t forget an umbrella too, in case you need to queue outside the store.
- Try to shop with no more than one other person, which will help to reduce the number of people in-store at any one time.
- Please use our cleaning stations to wipe your trolley, basket, or Scan as you Shop handset.
- If possible, use card or contactless payments.
- Please avoid shopping during our dedicated times for vulnerable and elderly people, and NHS workers.