// Waitrose introduces new measures to protect customers and staff, including limiting customer numbers in shops
// Other measures include “safe distance” floor signage, “two-metre marshalls” in queues, protective screens at checkouts
// There will also be additional security and encouraging customers to do contactless shopping
Waitrose has new measures to help customers shop safely and to protect its staff amid the coronavirus pandemic, including new new checkout screens and limiting customer numbers.
The upmarket grocer said it has backed the government’s plea for social distancing, which is why it is limiting customer numbers in shops.
From today, its supermarkets and convenience shops would begin to limit the number of customers allowed in at any one time, and the limits will be specific to each branch based on the number of tills.
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Waitrose said shop managers will use their judgement on customer numbers and when their shop is at capacity to manage social distancing, it will operate a one in, one out policy.
Waitrose confirmed it would still dedicate the first opening hour to elderly and vulnerable customers and those caring for them, and NHS staff will continue to be given priority checkout service.
Meanwhile, checkout screens have also been ordered to protect staff and customers from infected moisture droplets.
Other measures being introduced include two-metre marshals that will help manage queues outside shops, and if necessary remind customers to respect the two-metre social distancing rule.
There will also be signage and a coned area instructing customers to queue two metres apart outside shops and in-store, floor signage will be introduced to ensure customers keep two metres apart when queuing.
Waitrose is also implementing fewer checkouts for social distancing – where two checkouts are back to back, one will close.
Special protective visors are also being ordered and will be available to staff, if they wish.
Finally, Waitrose said it would strive to encourage more customers to shop in a “cashless and contactless” way to prevent unnecessary contact, and staff will guide customers where possible to use self-service technology.
“The health of our partners and customers has always been our number one priority and we fully support social distancing,” John Lewis Partnership customer service executive director Bérangère Michel said.
“While these measures will dramatically change how people shop and interact with others in our stores for the moment – they are absolutely vital to ensure that our customers can shop safely and that our partners are protected as they go above and beyond to serve shoppers in this time of crisis.”