// Major supermarket chains open early for the elderly & vulnerable to shop during Covid-19 pandemic
// Customers are urged to shop in store where possible to free up online delivery slots for the more vulnerable
Grocers are implementing elderly hours in stores so vulnerable customers can shop when its quieter and stock up on essentials due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Asda announced it would open be open for vulnerable shoppers before 9am tomorrow
The grocer’s chief executive Roger Burnley asked customers in a letter “postpone going to stores until at least 9am”.
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“We must help to shield the most vulnerable in our communities from this virus,” he said.
Earlier in the week Iceland announced that some of its stores would open an hour earlier to allow the elderly to shop when it is quieter and to get first dibs on essentials.
One hundred of its branches across the UK are now open from 8am between Monday and Friday for those who are at highest risk from the virus.
Tesco has implemented the same measures, prioritising one hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning between 9-10am except in Express stores for the elderly.
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis also encouraged customers who shop online or choose click-and-collect to instead prioritise shopping in-store where possible to help free up delivery slots for the more vulnerable.
In a similar open letter to customers, Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said the grocer has listened to feedback from customers and staff concerned about vulnerable individuals and is taking extra steps “to make sure everyone has access to the items that they need”.
It will set aside the first hour in every supermarket from today for elderly and vulnerable customers.
Meanwhile, Morrisons is dedicating 9am and 10am, Monday to Saturday for vulnerable and the elderly shoppers to be given more help in the store.
Starting today, Morrisons said this will be on-going for the foreseeable future.
Over in Ireland, Lidl shops are allowing only pensioners to shop during the first two hours of operation.
There are no plans as yet to implement similar measures for Lidl Great Britain.
Supermarkets continue to urge customers to be “considerate” as panic buying has seen shelves stripped of staple products, leaving many without staple products.