A change in the law which takes effect today will mean people can shop in major supermarkets in groups again.
Groups of up to six people will now be permitted to go shopping together, though they must follow all the relevant Covid rules.
What does this mean for supermarket shoppers?
While the change in law means that supermarkets are able to allow people to shop in groups of up to six, they are not required to, and most supermarkets still have other rules in place.
The change will impact shoppers going to supermarkets like Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tesco
All supermarkets are asking customers to keep to the rules on social distancing, and face covering are required by each chain.
Here’s the latest Covid guidance and rules for each of the major supermarkets.
Aldi is among the supermarket chains to have extended its opening hours in hopes of reducing crowding at busy times.
Despite the rule change, Aldi is also still asking shoppers to come alone if possible, and follow a ‘one shopper, one trolley’ rule.
The supermarket has also installed perspex screens around all tills, and placed markers around the store to aid social distancing.
Advice on Aldi’s website says the company will also limit entry to stores at busy times, and customers are being asked to “only buy what you need”.
Aldi’s website lists the busiest and quietest times and encourages customers to visit during typically quieter times.
It lists 8am-10am as ‘quite busy’, 11am-3pm as ‘busiest’, 4-6 as ‘quieter’ and 7pm-10pm as the ‘quietest’ time to visit.
Asda shoppers are still being asked to limit the number of people they shop with.
The supermarket is asking shoppers to “please touch less where you can” and to pay by card if possible, to minimise the potential for spread of the disease.
Asda have also introduced a number of measures with Covid safety in mind, including:
- Antimicrobial handles: All basket and trolley handles in the supermarket are now treated with an antimicrobial protective coating that limits the spread of bacteria
- Contactless payments: The amount which can be paid via contactless payment by either credit or debit card has been increased to £45
- Safety Marshals: Staff stationed at the entrances to each store who are “on hand to help customers with safety queries and reiterate Government guidelines”.
Lidl are still requiring customers to wear face coverings in order to enter their stores, and their guidance states that they have masks near the entrance to each store which shoppers can put on and pay for once they’ve shopped, if they forget their own.
Guidance on Lidl’s website also states that customers should use disposable gloves and the provided tongs in the bakery section to bag loose items.
In a blog post on its website, Morrisons lists a number of steps it has taken in response to the pandemic.
It states: “We are working hard to fill our shops and online stores:
“We are a Foodmaker and Shopkeeper and we’re increasing the amount of food we make in our British manufacturing sites to meet customers’ needs
“We’ve increased the amount of stock being sent to stores from our warehouses, with colleagues working incredibly hard
“We’re extending our home delivery service so we can deliver to more customers on their doorstep at the times they need us
“We’re introducing temporary purchase limits on products where there is high demand, so they remain available for longer for more customers to buy
“Cleaning in our stores is being increased throughout the day to ensure high standards of food safety and store cleanliness are maintained.”
Sainsbury’s supermarkets have a number of measures in place to minimise the risks associated with the pandemic.
The supermarket is still asking shoppers to shop alone, “to help manage the number of customers”.
Its guidance states that staff will “challenge customers who are shopping in groups”.
After initially implementing a one-way system in its stores, Tesco has taken the decision to remove this, following customer feedback, to reduce bottlenecks.
Guidance on the Tesco website also urges customers to sanitise hands, baskets and trolleys at the many cleaning stations in store.
Many Tesco stores have had a green-light system installed, which tells shoppers outside whether it is safe to enter, or if too many people are already in the store.
Tesco is also still asking shoppers to come alone, or with a carer or child if necessary.