Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons & Asda: Supermarkets impose strict rules amid COVID-19 panic

The growing pandemic of the Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, has sparked fears across the world. With thousands dead and nearly 200,000 infected globally, it’s no surprise that millions of Britons are rushing to their local supermarkets to stockpile on essential items.


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But this anti-social behaviour has been called out by Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, and Asda who are still urging people to shop fairly and with a “conscience”.

So to combat stockpiling what are the latest rules imposed by the UK supermarkets?


Tesco has announced that all its 24-hour stores will reduce their hours from last night. The supermarket also announced all of its stores will be open between 6am and 10pm every day to give staff more time to restock the shelves, which are being depleted quickly as shoppers stockpile.

It has also implemented a three-item limit on every product line per person to ensure more people have access to everyday essentials.

From Thursday 19 March, Tesco stores will close all meat, fish, deli counters and salad bars in order to focus on stocking shelves with essential groceries and avoid waste.

Tesco has also announced that to ensure more vulnerable and elderly customers can shop in-store, Tesco will prioritise one hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning between 9am and 10am (except in Express stores) and ask that other customers respect this.

Dave Lewis, CEO of Tesco, released a statement earlier today to outline the changes and asked for help from the public during these difficult times.


In an email to customers yesterday (March 17) CEO of Sainsbury’s Mike Coupe said he wanted to share the extra steps the supermarket is taking to make shopping easier.

He said last week many had shared their concerns about elderly and vulnerable customers, asking if the supermarket could do more to restrict the number of items each person can buy.

So starting Thursday, March 19, all Sainsbury’s stores will set aside the first hour for elderly and vulnerable customers. And from Monday 23rd March elderly and vulnerable customers will have priority access to online delivery slots.

grocery products and a maximum of two on the most popular products including toilet paper, soap and UHT milk.

To help get more essential items onto the shelves, from Thursday, March 19, the supermarket will be closing cafes and meat, fish and pizza counters also.


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In a message to customers, Chief Executive David Potts said the supermarket is increasing the amount of food it makes in its British manufacturing sites to meet customers’ needs.

Morrisons has also increased the amount of stock being sent to stores from warehouses, extended home delivery service and introduced temporary purchase limits on products where there is high demand.

He also said cleaning in the stores is being increased throughout the day to ensure high standards of food safety and store cleanliness are maintained.


Asda has also put in place a number of measures for its stores during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Roger Burnley, CEO, said the supermarket has ramped up cleaning efforts in stores and has asked cleaners to focus on “high traffic” areas.

It is also reducing its opening hours at some of its 24-hour stores.

The temporary measures have been put in place to give staff more time to clean and fully re-stock their shelves.

Details about separate stores are available here.

Mr. Burnley also acknowledged that demand for online shopping has increased and said Asda is delivering as many orders as it possibly can.

He said: “If you can be flexible in your delivery or collection time, that would be fantastic and we’ve made sure our drivers all have sanitiser spray so they can continually ensure they’re able to keep your shopping and the totes clean and hygienic.”

He added that staff are working around the clock to make sure they’re doing everything they can to keep products available – and in some cases, such as with hand sanitiser, cleaning products, and baby formula – they have implemented a limit on the number of items that can be purchased to make sure everyone can get what they need.

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