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Supermarket restrictions: what you need to know

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Supermarkets are bringing in restrictions on the number of items shoppers can buy as the panic surrounding coronavirus heightens.

With empty shelves across supermarkets and other tales of shoppers stockpiling essentials, stores are now attempting to make it fairer for all.

Here’s what they’re doing:

Aldi: Customers are currently limited to buying four items of any one product during each visit.

Asda: Customers will only be able to buy up to three of any product across all food items, toiletries and cleaning products. Asda is also asking customers to shop “responsibly” so that everyone has access to essentials.

It will close its rotisserie and pizza counters and will temporarily close its larger 24-hour stores between the hours of 12am and 6am.

Co-op: Customers are asked to shop in a normal way and not to panic buy. However, it is temporarily limiting purchases on certain products to a maximum of two per customer to maintain stocks and choice.

This includes hand sanitiser, soap, antibacterial wipes, toilet/kitchen roll, non-fresh products such as tinned goods, pasta, rice, long life milk, sugar and also baby milk, baby food, nappies and baby wipes.

For those who have a repeat prescription for an existing health condition, the Co-op health app can arrange free delivery in England. Students at Co-op Academies will also receive a £20 food voucher for every week of unplanned closure.

Iceland: It is encouraging managers to dedicate the first two hours of store opening times on Wednesday for the elderly and vulnerable. The stores taking this action will publicise this.

Lidl: Operating hours remain the same but there is a restriction on the number of items shoppers can buy. It has limited the sale of products including household essentials, cleaning products, pasta, rice and tinned goods to four items per customer.

Morrisons: It will expand home delivery through more slots via Morrisons online and via Amazon Prime.

From Monday it will launch a range of simple-to-order food parcels and it will launch a customer call centre for orders to be taken over the phone so that people who do not shop online can still order food.

It is also limiting purchases on items in high demand.

Ocado: As of 19 March, Ocado has temporarily closed down its online delivery service as it’s at full capacity – 170,000 deliveries over the next four days. All customers will be able to access the website again from Saturday.

Sainsbury’s: The first hour in every Sainsbury’s store from tomorrow will be reserved for the elderly and vulnerable. For everyone else, the supermarket will open one hour after the published opening time.

From Monday 23 March, online customers who are over 70 years of age or have a disability will have priority access to online delivery slots.

For online customers who can travel to stores, also from Monday it will operate an expanded ‘click and collect’ service. Customers can place their order online as usual and pick it up from a collection point in the store car park.

As of today, customers will be able to buy a maximum of three of any grocery product and a maximum of two on the most popular products including toilet paper, soap and UHT milk.

From tomorrow, it will be closing cafes as well as meat, fish and pizza counters in supermarkets.

Tesco: It has introduced a purchase limit of three items on all products. It added that customers should shop as they normally would to help maintain good availability for everyone. This is online and in-store. However paracetamol and toilet paper is restricted to two per customer.

Store opening hours have also been temporarily changed to 6am to 10pm in larger stores – extra, superstores and large metros. However a few large stores with pharmacies will continue to stay open past 10pm so check before you make a special trip.

Waitrose: It is temporarily bringing forward the cut off time for online order changes to 12noon and will limit some of the website’s most in-demand products.