Coronavirus: Waitrose & John Lewis unveil new measures to assist NHS staff

Coronavirus: Waitrose & John Lewis unveil new measures to assist NHS staff
Waitrose staff have been told that wherever possible, they are to reserve core grocery items to help get crucial basics to NHS staff working around the clock during the coronavirus pandemic.
// Waitrose to protect hard-to-find & essential stock exclusively for NHS workers at all times of the day
// NHS staff will receive priority checkout treatment in all Waitrose supermarkets
// John Lewis is donating comfort items and Easter gift food to local hospitals, to support workers

The John Lewis Partnership has announced that from tomorrow, its network of Waitrose shops will set aside a proportion of hard-to-find items exclusively for NHS staff.

The upmarket grocer said that from Monday March 23, a batch of essential products from every delivery that arrives into its stores will be set side and protected exclusively for NHS staff, on production of an NHS card.

Waitrose staff have been told that wherever possible, they are to reserve core grocery items to help get crucial basics to NHS staff working around the clock during the coronavirus pandemic.


Meanwhile, NHS staff at Waitrose stores are now being given priority checkout service – through either dedicated NHS checkouts, staff opening up new tills for them as needed, or moving to them to the front of the queue.

Stablemate John Lewis is also responding to requests from NHS workers for anything that would make their breaks more comfortable.

The department store will be donating items such as pillows, phone chargers, eye masks and hand cream, as well as 50,000 Easter treats, to hospitals on the frontline of the pandemic.

“Through these steps we want to recognise the tireless work of NHS staff, supporting us all through these unprecedented circumstances,” John Lewis Partnership customer service executive director Bérangère Michel said.

“We hope these measures make their life a little easier; our partners are keen to do something to help, and we are offering this with sincere thanks from us all.”

These new measures follow steps outlined by the John Lewis Partnership last week to support customers, including the launch of a £1 million community support fund to help local communities and a protected shopping hour for the elderly and vulnerable.

Many Waitrose shops have already been using their community funds to assemble care packages of essential items for vulnerable or elderly people in the local community.

The John Lewis Partnership also launched a support fund to aid its staff who are facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic, such as childcare costs.

Staff are also being offered free meals at work.

Meanwhile just yesterday the partnership said it was working with Age UK, FareShare and the Trussell Trust by donating £75,000 initially to each charity, for immediate activity in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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  1. Dear All,
    This is marvellous but as a regular Waitrose shopper what are you doing to protect your staff from customers encroaching in their Soave an£ less than 2 m. I was in my local Stamford store and was simply appalled by the lack of attention on this. Support the staff and us all and enforce in store distancing else you’ll have no staff and the rest afterwards is obvious.

  2. Do Waitrose have ‘first hour’ priority sessions for NHS workers and elderly/disabled people etc on separate days, similar to M&S do by fixing on elderly/disabled etc first hour opportunity on Mondays and Thursdays?
    If Waitrose do, it needs publicity – can’t find the info on google or their website.
    Can you please pass this on to Waitrose. Thanks

  3. Elderly/ disabled shoppers definitely need to shop at different times to hospital staff ( like M&S) agree with Hils jago

  4. Following on from above although well- intentioned you are spreading the virus as are all supermarkets dedicating the first hour of a day to NHS staff. You should PLEASE provide NHS staff with home delivery rather than making them coming into store. Research shows that the virus lasts for 3 hours in the air, 24 hours on cardboard and up to 3 days on stainless steel and plastic. Please please think through the implications of this and also tell all other supermarkets. We need to protect your staff as well as all other shoppers. Even If you provide NHS priority on different days from elderly people just look at the statistics above ! We are all in this together and the NHS staff- bless them- would not want to be spreading the virus

  5. I am a vulnerable 74 year old and am self isolating. I do not wa t to risk visiting waitrose store.
    I had an online delivery today with another slot booked for the 31st March .
    Unfortunately I am unable to book a further slot in April as all are taken .
    I am concerned- will further slots become available for older customers?

  6. I have a slot booked for 6th April and it crashedvwhile trying to amend it and I cannot get through to help desk. I am 78 with asthma and COPD. and unable to get to shops. Can we who are isolating be put on a priority list for 2/3 weekly slots.

  7. Peterborough store needs lessons in customer communication (regular shopping twice a month for years normally) and put up notices for customer information.Went in the evening, young ‘marshall’ outside the entrance wiping trolley handles told us to go round the side to the other entrance as rough paper hand written notice said ‘exit’ so we could not go in that way. Husband disabled walking with stick, long walk. Got there it was blocked off. Turned to go back, young man then said he meant the opposite to where he was. Only wanted a few items and on way to check out when a shelf stacker from other aisle came up to us and said Waitrose policy was only one family member allowed inside store at a time! She came up very close to my husband who has been ill in hospital with life threatening illness 4 times in 14 months and has is at risk with immune system suppression from being ill. My husband has made a complaint via email (no response as yet) about the staff coming up so close 2 foot away from us approx, (she stood at the side of our trolley, next to my husband and I was on the other side). Needless to say we won’t be shopping there again, the place was full of food except one or two varieties of things here and there, and when this is all over, I will be removing my customer permanently. (2nd time I have had problems recently other too long to say). As to the policy of family members it means that more than one family member cannot grab trollies and stuff them with food for the same family. My husband and I had one small trolley for both of us! Waitrose need to ensure staff understand that the social distancing also applies to them and their customers! And that disabled customers are entitled to carers being with them (I am my husbands informal carer (meaning I do not get paid by the state)). There were actually more staff in the store than customers, I am not surprised if the staff are subjecting customers to breaches of social distancing rules.


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