Supermarkets 'ban couples' from shopping together to help social distancing

3 April 2020, 20:07

Shoppers queue outside a Sainsbury's supermarket
Shoppers queue outside a Sainsbury's supermarket. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

Supermarkets are 'banning couples' from shopping together to try and enforce social distancing.

Sainsbury's and Waitrose have both asked families to nominate one person to come into the store in a bid to keep two metres between people.

Parents are also being urged not to bring their children shopping with them unless they have to for reasons such as there being no one else to look after them at home.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe said: "From today, we are asking everyone to please only send one adult per household to our shops.

"This helps us keep people a safe distance apart and also helps to reduce queues to get into stores. 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."

It comes after Waitrose announced a similar "one person per household" policy last weekend.

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Sainsbury's have already set up a queuing system to reduce the number of people in stores at any one time and set up perspex screens at most manned checkouts.

Another 230,000 extra delivery slots have been added so customers can get their groceries without leaving the house.

Two weeks ago the supermarket had 370,000 online slots and now it has increased to 600,000.

It has also relaxed rules on the number of certain items people can buy after there were restrictions imposed across the UK following panic buying.

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Sainsbury's has also relaxed rules on the number of certain items people can buy
Sainsbury's has also relaxed rules on the number of certain items people can buy. Picture: Getty

Sainsbury's boss Mike Coupe added: "As stock continues to build, we have been reviewing whether we still need to limit the number of items people buy. I am pleased to tell you that we will start to remove limits from Sunday.

"Limits will remain in place on the most popular items which include UHT milk, pasta and tinned tomatoes.

"I have been delighted to see that customers have told us they think colleague friendliness is at an all-time high at the moment.

"I think this is real testament both to the hard work of our colleagues and also the fantastic recognition they are getting for the vital role they are playing throughout this crisis.

"Thank you for treating our colleagues with the respect and kindness they deserve. They really are doing their best to serve our customers well in these challenging times."