SUPERMARKETS including Iceland and Tesco have announced special store hours for NHS staff so they can access food and essentials during the coronavirus epidemic.
It comes after one nurse made a tearful plea to fellow shoppers to stop stockpiling food and essentials after ending her 48-hour shift to find supermarket shelves empty.
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Stores have been placed under extreme demand during the coronavirus outbreak as customers empty them of items including cleaning products, pasta and toilet roll.
While some supermarkets are now limiting the amount of each item shoppers can buy to try and make sure everyone has access to their products.
Supermarkets have already announced dedicated hours for elderly customers so they can shop away from crowds – we’ve rounded up what each store is doing here.
Here’s what they’re doing to help NHS staff.
Which supermarkets have special hours for NHS staff?
- Aldi: Aldi has yet to announce any dedicated hours just for NHS workers. We’ve asked the supermarket if it has anything planned and we’ll update this article when we know more.
- Asda: Similarly, Asda hasn’t unveiled any special hours for NHS staff. We’ll update this article when we find out if the grocer has anything in store for the future.
- Co-op: Co-op has announced a special shopping hour for NHS staff, everyday for the first hour of trading. The dedicated hour is 8am to 9pm, Monday to Saturdays, and 10am and 11am on Sundays, in all stores. It won’t be closing off stores to other customers during these times, but said it’ll be prioritising NHS workers and vulnerable customers.
- Iceland: No special hours have been unveiled for NHS staff in Iceland stores. We’ve asked the supermarket to let us know if this changes.
- Lidl: Lidl hasn’t announced any dedicated hours for NHS workers. The Sun has asked Lidl if it has anything planned.
- M&S: M&S is reserving the first hour of opening in every store for NHS workers, every Tuesday and Friday. It’s not clear if other shoppers will be allowed to browse during these hours.
- Morrisons: No dedicated hours for NHS staff have been announced by Morrisons. We’ll update this article if this changes.
- Sainsbury’s: Sainsbury’s is reserving 8am to 9am in stores, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for NHS and social care workers, alongside elderly and vulnerable customers.
- Tesco: Every Sunday, all Tesco stores (except Express stores) will prioritise a browsing hour before checkouts open for NHS workers. It’s not clear if other customers can shop at the same time.
- Waitrose: Waitrose hasn’t announced special hours, but said it’ll set aside a proportion of hard-to-find items exclusively for NHS staff.
Which supermarkets have rationing limits in place?
The following supermarkets have started limiting the number of products each customer can buy to try and reduce stockpiling.
- Aldi: Two items per person across popular products including nappies, toilet roll and kitchen roll.
- Asda: Three items per person across all products.
- Co-op: Two items per customer on popular products including toilet paper, soap and UHT milk.
- Lidl: Four items per person on household essentials, including cleaning products, tinned goods, pasta and rice.
- M&S: No item limits in place.
- Morrisons: Limits in place on cleaning products, including two hand sanitisers per customer and six bottles of bleach per shoppers.
- Sainsbury’s: Three items per person across all products.
- Tesco: Three items per person across all products.
- Waitrose: Limits on anti-bacterial products online, including four soaps and four wipes per shopper.
Supermarkets are struggle to deal with coronavirus demands as shoppers are being given “weird” alternatives in deliveries.
Meanwhile, Lidl is hiring 2,500 temporary workers and wages start from £9.30 an hour.
Aldi and Asda are taking on 14,000 staff to help with coronavirus demand.