Coronavirus: Supermarkets

We have taken up a number of issues about accessing food in recent weeks. I am also speaking to Ministers about the lack of online delivery slots for vulnerable people, the shielding group not being able to register easily, key worker priorities not being effective are preventing and single parents struggling to get food in stores that are only allowing one adult from each household. The Ministers and department teams are taking these issues up directly with the CEOs.

Worth a note of the following measures:

• Sainsbury’s is relaxing purchasing restrictions from Sunday 5 April, but restricting entry to stores to one adult from each household at a time.

• Aldi, ASDA, Morrisons, Waitrose, and Lidl are easing limits on some goods in store, but customers are still encouraged to only buy what they need to ensure all customers continue to have access to all the products they need.

• Contactless card payment spending limit has increased from £30 to £45 to help minimise contact between staff and customers.

• Marks & Spencer has launched new online Food Boxes to help customers get products they need and support those who aren’t able to easily visit stores.

• Morrisons have made a letter available on their internal website for their employees which clarify their key worker status in case of interaction with authorities.

• Asda will provide full pay to colleagues who have been identified by government as needing to self-isolate for 12 weeks and will offer fully paid leave to colleagues who are vulnerable or are the carers of extremely vulnerable people.

• Waitrose, ASDA, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Tesco, Iceland, Poundland, SPAR and Aldi are implementing measures to ensure social distancing in stores – these include protective screens, hand sanitiser provided in store and directional floor markings to ensure distances are kept in queues.

• Waitrose has announced a set of new measures to help its customers shop safely, including limiting customer numbers and introducing measures to ensure social distancing.

• Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Iceland and Asda are all reserving an hour in stores for elderly and vulnerable shoppers.

• Aldi, Marks and Spencer, Iceland, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are creating a special shopping times for NHS and emergency service workers. Waitrose is taking in store measures to ensure NHS workers receive the groceries they need – including reserving essential stock and increasing the size of daily deliveries to all 46 hospital stores across the UK.

• Sainsbury’s is offering an expanded ‘click and collect service’ and increasing the number of collection sites across the country. Waitrose is introducing special deliveries for vulnerable customers and Morrisons is making more online delivery slots.

• Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Co-op and Marks and Spencer are all limiting shopping hours so they can restock overnight.

• Morrisons has introduced immediate payments for its smaller suppliers so they can be paid more quickly. Aldi will pay any supplier with a turnover of less than £1m immediately.

• The Co-op is fast-tracking recruitment of 5,000 store colleagues to provide temporary employment for hospitality workers who have lost their jobs.

• Aldi is has launched a recruitment drive to hire 9,000 new workers, including roles in every one of its stores and distribution centres.

• Lidl has donated £100,000 to the Covid-19 Emergency Community Fund, supporting vulnerable groups such as the elderly, and families who need help during school closures. Lidl has also partnered with FareShare is donating a large volume of ambient products to FareShare and the Trussell Trust.

• Morrisons is distributing £10 million worth of food to food banks. Asda has donated £5m to food charities to support the most vulnerable people in local communities. Waitrose has set up a £1m Community Support Fund to help those in need. Marks and Spencer and Lidl have also started community funds. Co-op will donate £1.5m worth of food to FareShare.

• Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has donated £150,000 to Age UK to specifically support older people during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our local supermarket workers are doing a brilliant job to keep food distribution going under a lot of pressure. It was good to see them praised alongside health workers on Thursday night. Let's keep the thank yous up when we are in the shops.

Hope you are keeping well.