Sainsbury’s has now brought in extra measures in store and online, to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Speaking about the changes put in place to keep customers and employees safe during the coronavirus epidemic, the supermarket's Chief Executive Mike Coupe said, “We continue to make changes in line with government guidelines and in response to feedback from you [the customer] and our colleagues.”
What are the new measures?
To ensure customers remain a safe distance from both other shoppers and staff when visiting Sainsbury's shops, the retailer has now introduced queuing systems outside stores. Customers are asked to stand at least two metres apart, to prevent the spread of the virus.
The company has placed clear markings on the floors by its checkouts to clarify what constitutes a safe distance to its customers.
Additionally, to help cut down queuing times to enter stores, restrictions are also in place to ensure only one adult per household is shopping in store at a time - a policy which is being enforced by staff.
However parents who have no option but to bring their children with them on their visits will not be prevented, so long as they are the sole adult in their group.
Chief Executive Mike Coupe said, “Our store teams will be asking groups with more than one adult to choose one adult to shop and will ask other adults to wait. Children are of course welcome if they are not able to stay at home.”
Plastic screens have been installed in every supermarket at all manned checkouts, to protect checkout staff who are constantly coming into close contact with customers as they pay.
These screens are also being installed at the shop’s Argos collection points.
No more empty shelves
After a wave of panic buying led to many empty shelves across the nation, the retailer has announced that it has begun to notice a change in its customers’ buying habits.
According to CEO Mike Coupe, most shoppers have started to buy only what they need, which ensures the stores now “often have stock on the shelves all day and at the end of the day.”
This has reduced the length of queues early in the mornings, as shoppers are beginning to notice stock is available throughout the day.
Are there still limits on what I can buy?
Limits on the most often bought long-life items, such as pasta, UHT milk and tinned tomatoes, will remain in place for the time being.
However, on Sunday (5 April) the retailer will remove its current limits on the number of items one customer can buy, in light of its replenished stock levels. At present, there is no limit on the number of easter eggs one customer can purchase.
Expanding the online grocery service
Sainsbury’s is now expanding its online grocery service to deal with the increase in online buying while the UK remains on lockdown. The company is working on opening up 230,000 further home delivery and click and collect slots by the end of next week (12 April).
The retailer is currently giving priority access to online delivery to both its elderly and vulnerable customers, so far offering priority booking to over 450,000 customers who fall into this category.