Supermarkets have stayed open throughout the pandemic because they all sell essential items like food. However, this has meant the retailers have had to adapt and implement rules on social distancing, limited numbers in stores as well as asking customers to shop alone.
The next relaxation of the tough lockdown restrictions currently in place is on March 29.
This comes as part of the Government’s plan to reopen society after the UK’s third national lockdown.
Next week, the stay at home rule will end and people will be able to meet outside or in a private garden in groups of up to six or with one other household, providing social distancing rules are still met.
How does the relaxation of rules affect supermarket shopping?
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To help more people in store at times that are quieter or more convenient, the supermarket has extended many of its stores’ opening hours, although the majority remain closed overnight.
At the time of writing, Tesco is also still asking customers to shop alone.
Its website explained: “Please shop alone unless you’re a carer or with children. We also encourage you to shop only when you need to, in line with Government guidance to stay at home.”
The retailer continues to limit the number of people in stores and queues likely at peak times.
Those who are not wearing face coverings are also not allowed in store and Tesco asks shoppers to make sure they are wearing them correctly.
Tesco also has a traffic light system at more than 1,3000 stores which will light up green when customers can enter the store and light up red when they must wait outside.
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Sainsbury’s has said that they are challenging anyone who isn’t shopping alone.
Its website said: ”To help manage the number of customers in our stores you must also shop on your own, this will help make your shop quicker.
“We will also challenge customers who are shopping in groups.”
This continues to help the flow of shoppers in-and-out of the supermarket due to Sainsbury’s significantly reducing the number of customers inside at any one time to ensure social distancing is maintained.
During busier times of the day, queues are likely to build up at Sainsbury’s stores and the supermarket asks customers to queue at a safe distance of two metres apart.
For those who don’t want to go to store, Sainsbury’s is now accepting new customer registrations online for home delivery and click and collect slots.
Like other supermarkets, Asda is limiting the number of customers in store at any one time which means there may be queues outside at peak times.
Additional hand sanitising stations have been placed at store entrances and the supermarket has put antimicrobial handles to both trolleys and baskets.
The website explained: “Keeping our customers and colleagues safe has been our priority throughout and this remains unchanged as social distancing measures are gradually eased.”
Some of its stores are now open 24 hours to help customers shop at quieter times and customers are encouraged to only shop when they need to.
Like other supermarkets, those who are not wearing face masks without a medical exemption will not be allowed in store.
Aldi was also one of the first retailers to introduce a traffic light system and queues are likely to build up at peak times.
The discount supermarket is still asking customers to shop alone and adhere to its one shopper, one trolley rule.
Aldi said: “Our shelves are well stocked throughout the day. Our busiest time is between 11am-3pm, so by extending our hours you have more time to shop safely.”
The supermarket has also extended its click and collect service as well as being available on Deliveroo.