Social distancing in supermarkets do not help, says MP

Social distancing in supermarkets do not help, says MP coronavirus covid-19
The government is also set to announce that supermarket workers will be on the list of key workers.
// Environment Secretary George Eustice says social distancing measures taken in Italy were “counterproductive”
// He said they led to hundreds of people “huddled together” at store entrances
// Remarks came after government was accused of lacking urgency in their response to coronavirus pandemic

Restrictions on customer numbers within supermarkets have been ruled out by the Environment Secretary.

George Eustice said such social distancing measures taken in Italy had proven to be “counterproductive” as they led to hundreds of people “huddled together” at store entrances.

His remarks came after ministers were accused of lacking urgency in their response to the spread of Covid-19 in the UK.


Speaking in the House of Commons, Labour MP Bill Esterson said: “Supermarket queues are undoubtedly adding to the spread of the coronavirus, not least because of a lack of social distancing.”

He added: “People need to see a much greater sense of urgency. This needs to be tackled to prevent the spread within supermarkets.

“Will he today, with Cabinet colleagues, implement and enforce social distancing in supermarkets to reduce the spread in that part of society?”

Eustice replied in the Commons: “We will not do that measure.

“It was something that was done in Italy, with a restriction on the number of people in stores and what they found was they just had hundreds of people huddled together at the entrance to the store and it’s counterproductive.”

Shadow local government minister Jim McMahon earlier called for supermarket workers to be classed as key workers so their children can still attend schools.

“Our supermarket workers have shown themselves to be the heroes of retail, making sure that people get fed and get the food that they need,” he said.

“But there are real concerns about whether they can maintain that service if they’re not included in the list of key workers.

“Of course, many will have children who will need care that the school can’t accommodate.

“Can we have an assurance today that our retail workers will be on the list of key workers?”

Eustice responded: “The Prime Minister made reference yesterday to the importance of those working in the food retail sector in particular.

“Later today, the government will be announcing those jobs defined as key workers.

“But I can assure him we fully recognise that over 25 per cent of staff generally working in the food supply chain have children of school age, that’s recognised and something that will be reflected when that list is published.”

with PA Wires

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  1. Supermarket aisles are the worst places to keep away from other shoppers they are not wide enough to accommodate the social distancing required it is asking for trouble. Everyone should stay at home and all food stores should close like the department stores have voluntarily. The government and retailers should work on ways to home deliver to all households.

  2. Not all retail workers qualify for the 80% pay if they stay at home during the outbreak. Many qualify for ssp which is little over £94 a week. A lot of us would prefer to stay at home with our families but simply cant afford to until we are sure we will be fully paid. Also the food that is delivered by retailers is ordered and placed on shelves by shopworkers then taken off shelves into bags by other shopworkers then given to delivery driver to be sent to customer. If all retail workers stay at home there would be no home deliveries either.


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