SUPERMARKETS including Iceland and Tesco are running dedicated opening hours for NHS staff so they can access food and essentials during the coronavirus epidemic.
It comes after one nurse made a tearful plea to fellow shoppers to stop stockpiling food and essentials after ending her 48-hour shift to find supermarket shelves empty.
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As a result, some supermarkets are now limiting the number of products shoppers can buy to try and make sure everyone has access.
Supermarkets have already announced dedicated hours for elderly customers so they can shop away from crowds – we’ve rounded-up what each store is doing here.
But below we round-up what they’re doing for NHS workers too.
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Which supermarkets have special hours for NHS staff?
- Aldi: Aldi is giving key workers in the NHS, police and fire service priority at the tills everyday upon showing a valid ID. This also includes any worker entitled to a Blue Light card, such as social care workers, first responders, St John Ambulance staff, and Age UK volunteers. They can also visit stores 30-minutes prior to opening on a Sunday.
- Asda: Asda is prioritising NHS workers and care workers in larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 9am and on Sundays between 9am to 10am for browsing.
- Co-op: Co-op has a special shopping hour for NHS staff, everyday for the first hour of trading. The dedicated hour is 8am to 9am, Monday to Saturdays, and 10am and 11am on Sundays, in all stores. It won’t be closing off stores to other customers during these times, but said it’ll be prioritising NHS workers and vulnerable customers. In addition, NHS workers and skip external queues by showing ID and they can get a 10 per cent discount in Co-op stores in England by showing their ID.
- Iceland: Iceland is allowing only NHS staff to shop for the final hour of trade. NHS staff will need to bring their ID to the shop.
- Lidl: Lidl is yet to announce any dedicated hours for NHS workers.
- M&S: M&S is reserving the first hour of opening in every store for NHS workers, every Tuesday and Friday.
- Morrisons: Morrisons has introduced an NHS hour from 7am to 8am Monday to Saturday. Staff will need their work badge to get in and you’ll have to go to the staff entrance to get in. They can also shop on Sunday mornings between 8am and 9am.
- Sainsbury’s: Sainsbury’s is reserving from 7.30am to 8am from Monday to Saturday for NHS workers with ID.
- Tesco: Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, all Tesco stores (except Express) will prioritise a browsing hour before checkouts open for NHS workers. You will need your ID.
- Waitrose: Waitrose hasn’t announced special hours, but is giving NHS workers with ID priority at the checkouts. It will also set aside a proportion of hard-to-find items exclusively for NHS staff.
Which supermarkets have rationing limits in place?
The following supermarkets have started limiting the number of products each customer can buy to try and reduce stockpiling.
- Aldi: Items including hand wash, shower gel, and UHT Milk were limited at Aldi. But from last week all restrictions apart from a 12-bottle limit on wine were lifted.
- Asda: Maximum of three items on certain handwashing and baby milk products in store and online.
- Co-op: A limit of two items per customer is still in place on selected products – check with your local store for details.
- Iceland: It has a temporary cap on sales of several products online including some anti-bacterial soaps and wipes. There may be similar restrictions on some items in store.
- Lidl: Four item limit applies to toilet roll only.
- M&S: Temporary purchasing restrictions on some items, although it doesn’t give further details of products or limits.
- Morrisons: Limits were lifted on all items at Morrisons last week.
- Sainsbury’s: Three item limit remains on UHT milk, pasta and tinned tomatoes.
- Tesco: Three item limit now only applies to fresh eggs, home baking products, and household and personal cleaning products including hand sanitisers. It also continues to apply to packets and tins of food, including pasta and rice, as well as to toilet rolls and paper goods. Online orders are limited to 80 items.
- Waitrose: In shops customers are limited to three of any specific grocery item, and a maximum of any two packets of toilet roll. Online, certain items have a temporary cap – although it’s unclear exactly what this is. It applies to products including anti-bacterial soaps and wipes, tissues, pasta, milk and canned goods.
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