What measures are supermarkets implementing for safety during coronavirus?

Retailers are playing their part to help stop the spread of the virus

With the nation now in lockdown, people are only allowed out for 'essential reasons', such as food shopping. Supermarkets are doing their bit by implementing a number of new measures for safety for all.

The past few weeks have presented various problems in the world of retail, with many panic buying items — leaving supermarket shelves sparse. And others taking up all delivery slots, resulting in some unable to order food.

Those who have to make the journey to their local supermarket will find that retailers have introduced new measures, to protect customers and employees.

More: UPDATE: How will Coronavirus affect our finances? Martin Lewis explains all

Coronavirus: Latest supermarket safety measures

We’ve rounded up some of the things each supermarket is doing to tackle coronavirus.

Tesco supermarkets

covid social distancing instructions

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One of the biggest changes is that Tesco's 24-hour stores are now open 6am to 10pm. Staff are using the time to restock shelves for the following day. NHS staff can do their shopping for an hour ahead of usual opening hours on Sundays, if they display their employee card.

In addition to this, the elderly and most vulnerable have a designated hour between 9am and 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But these special shopping hours are not valid at Tesco Express stores.

Much like other retailers implementing limits on items, Tesco has a nationwide restriction of three of the same products per customer. All fish, deli and salad counters will be closed, too.

Tesco chief Dave Lewis has revealed new measures to help prevent social contact — such as new floor markings in the checkout areas, protective screens on checkouts and one-way aisles.


morrisons with glass windows

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The supermarket is doing its bit to support NHS workers, with a dedicated hour — Monday to Saturday from 7am to 8am.

The retailer has said it’s in the process of employing marshalls to monitor and observe social distancing in its stores. It’s also put up perspex screens at checkouts to protect staff.

More on this: Morrisons are safeguarding customers from coronavirus with these extra precautions


More than 2,100 John Lewis Partners will help out at Waitrose shops and with deliveries over the next few months.

Opening hours haven’t changed at Waitrose, but it has introduced a special shopping time every day during the first hour, for the elderly and vulnerable. It’s also giving NHS staff priority checkout service to ensure they are able to get through as quickly as possible.

Waitrose has stepped up its cleaning, paying specific attention to high contact points such as self scan checkouts and key pads. All in addition to a 5-step plan action plan to limit shoppers, cashless payments, protective screens and safety visors for staff.

Related: Would you try this unusual way of house hunting during the coronavirus lockdown?


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To prevent stockpiling, customers can buy a maximum of three of the same item. This goes across food items, toiletries and cleaning products.

Asda has implemented in-store cleaning of baskets and trollies — it’s also set up cleaning stations with hand sanitiser at store entrances. There are a number of measures that it will be rolling out over the coming days to protect staff, such as limiting the number of people in its stores at any one time. Along with social distancing guidelines around the stores.

Just like Tesco, Asda has announced it’s 24-hour stores will be open from 6am until 12pm for the foreseeable future. It also is running early access for NHS workers at larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 9am.


aldi opening and closing times

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From Monday to Saturday, the chain will be open between 8am and 8pm and Sunday opening hours remain the same — from 10am to 4pm. In addition to this, it's put a purchase limit on products — so customers will not be able to buy more than four of the same item.

Aldi announced on social media last week that it would be donating £250,000 to Age UK, to ensure the charity can support vulnerable members of the community who can’t get to stores.


sainsbury's instructions with glass windows and door

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The retailer’s CEO announced in a letter that from Monday 23rd March its stores would be open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. Sunday opening times for large stores, local ones and petrol stations will remain the same.

All stores are putting on a designated time for elderly, the vulnerable and carers, this is taking place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 8am to 9am. Shoppers can purchase a maximum of three grocery products and a maximum of two of the most popular items — such as toilet paper, soap and long-life milk.

In terms of social distancing, Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said in a letter that Sainsbury’s is limiting the number of people allowed in stores and at ATMs at any one time.


The supermarket is opening an hour earlier than usual, so elderly and vulnerable people can do their shopping. It has also limited the sale of products including household essentials, cleaning products, pasta, rice and tinned goods to four items per customer.

There are also plastic screens in place for a safer shopping experience for all.


M&S employees from the clothes and home teams will be transferring over to the food section to keep up with the demand during this period. The retailer has also announced that it’s giving the first hour of every Tuesday and Friday morning to NHS and emergency service workers.

Related: Can you move house during the coronavirus lockdown?

Stay safe and stay home. Only leave your home to shop for the basic food essentials.