With life under lockdown continuing in the UK, people are beginning to adjust to isolating in their homes.
However, being able to get access to essentials like groceries and other items is still an obstacle that vulnerable members of society are struggling with.
In an effort to ensure that everyone gets access to daily essentials, supermarkets are ensuring that vulnerable customers are being catered to with priority home delivery slots.
What is a vulnerable customer?
As defined by the government, extremely vulnerable people are those with certain conditions that put them at higher risk of severe illness from the Covid-19 strain of the coronavirus.
This includes people who have had organ transplants, or who have specific cancers or respiratory conditions.
You can read more about the full list of people considered extremely vulnerable here.
Supermarkets are trying to ensure that all their vulnerable customers have access to everything they need via home deliveries.
How do I register as a vulnerable customer?
Supermarkets are working from government lists identifying who the vulnerable people who have online accounts with them are.
You can register as a vulnerable person, or on behalf of someone else, on the government website here.
The website states: “You may have received a letter from the NHS telling you that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, or been contacted by your GP or hospital clinician.
“If this has not happened, contact your GP or clinician after you register with this service.”
You should be aware that this service is only available in England.
After you click ‘start now’, you’ll be taken to an online questionnaire.
It’ll start by asking “do you live in England” and then the next question will ask: “Have you recently had a letter from the NHS about your situation as someone who’s extremely vulnerable to coronavirus?”
Regardless of whether you answer “yes”, “no” or “not sure”, you’ll then be taken to the next question which asks about what medical condition you have that makes you extremely vulnerable.
You’ll then need to fill out your personal details.
This is how supermarkets are aiding vulnerable people - there are different processes for different supermarkets, so this is what you need to know for all the major supermarket chains across the UK.
Tesco is trying to prioritise home delivery slots for vulnerable customers, reserving “hundreds of thousands of home delivery slots a week” according to a statement from the supermarket chain.
They are identifying customers using the list provided by the Government.
To try and get access to a priority slot, you can phone 0800 917 7359.
Tesco says that they are “working closely with administrators across the UK and expect this list to be extended to cover Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the coming weeks”.
Sainsbury’s is also working with the government to identify those most in need of their home delivery services.
Sainsbury’s are also working from the same list from the government that has the details of those extremely vulnerable to the virus.
If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, Sainsbury’s says that they are working hard with each of the respective governments to “gather the details of the most vulnerable living in these countries”.
As soon as Sainsbury’s has these details, they will get in touch with those customers.
Asda is also working from the government list and has said that they have written to over 91,000 of their most vulnerable customers who had an email address linked to an Asda customer account.
Those who received an email have been sent advice about how to claim a delivery slot free of charge.
An Asda spokesperson said: “We’re doing all we can - and would continue to urge customers who are able to visit shops to think of how they can support others in their community and if they can shop for them - allowing us to maximise our online capacity for those who need it most.”
Morrisons has not implemented specific delivery slots for vulnerable customers, but has introduced other methods that they are using to try and help those customers.
These changes include:
- Making more delivery slots available to customers through their Morrisons website and through the Morrisons Store on Amazon Prime Now- Launching a customer call centre for orders to be taken over the phone so that people who don’t use online shopping can still order food - that phone number is 0345 322 0000- Launching food boxes that are designed to provide homes with everyday essentials, with both a vegetarian and meat eater option - find out more here
Waitrose has said that they have committed “at least 25 per cent of our orders to elderly and vulnerable customers” and confirmed they’re in the process of contacting vulnerable customers to offer them delivery slots.
Waitrose have said that, to help them cope with demand, they are asking customers to wait until they get in touch with them, rather than customers trying to get in touch with Waitrose.
Iceland have announced that they are temporarily limiting online orders to customers who are over state pension age, self isolating or otherwise vulnerable, such as those who are disabled.
When you go on the Iceland website to book a delivery, a pop up will appear asking if you are over state pension age, vulnerable or self isolating.
If you click yes, you’ll be allowed to view the delivery slot calendar.