This is what supermarkets are doing to help the elderly and vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak

These are the changes supermarkets have introduced (Photo: Shutterstock)These are the changes supermarkets have introduced (Photo: Shutterstock)
These are the changes supermarkets have introduced (Photo: Shutterstock)

These are the changes the biggest supermarket chains have implemented in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.


In a bid to help the vulnerable get access to essentials, all Tesco stores (except Express stores) will be prioritise elderly and vulnerable shoppers for an hour between 9am and 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.

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Tesco has closed all of its 24-hour stores between the hours of 10pm and 6am, in order to help workers fully stock the shelves for customers.

For those with home deliveries booked, there is a self isolating option, which instructs the driver to leave your order on the doorstep to allow for a contact free delivery.


Sainsbury’s has set aside dedicated shopping hours for elderly and vulnerable customers.Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday will see all their supermarkets dedicate 8am to 9am to their elderly and disabled customers, as well as their carers.

From Monday to Saturday, NHS and social care workers will be given a dedicated shopping slot between 7:30am and 8am.

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Mike Coupe, CEO of Sainsbury’s, said: “We will also help the elderly and vulnerable customers access food online. From Monday 23 March, our online customers who are over 70 years of age or have a disability will have priority access to online delivery slots.”


Asda have introduced a priority shopping hour for NHS and carers, but not for elderly and disabled customers.

These shopping hours are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s from 8am to 9am, and Sundays from 9am to 10am.


NHS staff will be given early access to Morrisons stores between 7am and 8am each day of the week apart from Sundays, but has not introduced any specific hours for the elderly and vulnerable.

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If you have a delivery slot arranged with Morrisons, you should be aware that delivery drivers are not permitted to enter houses or hand over shopping bags on your doorstep.

Morrisons has stated on their website: “Please mention as part of your Delivery instructions if you are self-isolating so that our drivers can organise with you how best to deliver your order.”


An Iceland store in Ireland announced a dedicated shopping hour for the elderly and vulnerable throughout the outbreak, and in a letter posted on Twitter, Iceland said: “We are encouraging our store managers to dedicate the first two hours of opening on Wednesday morning to the elderly (those of state pension age) and vulnerable people in their community, such as those with disabilities.

“We are giving them the flexibility to offer this wherever possible, and arrangements will be publicised in the stores that decide to take this action.”

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All stores have implemented this special shopping time for the elderly and vulnerable.


Co-op is similarly introducing a dedicated hour at the start of opening for those at high risk, and their carers – because some store opening times can vary from shop to shop, you should check the opening time of your local shop. You can do so using their store locator here.

For every week of unplanned closure of schools, Co-op is also giving 6,500 students who would usually get a free meal at the Co-Op’s 25 Academy schools a £20 voucher to use at any Co-op store.


Older and vulnerable customers will be entitled to the first hour of opening at M&S on Mondays and Thursdays and NHS staff will be given access to their stores first thing on Tuesdays and Fridays.Waitrose

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The first hour of opening will be dedicated to the elderly and the vulnerable, plus their carers.


Exclusive access is given to elderly and vulnerable shoppers in Aldi 30 minutes before regular opening times, from Monday to Saturday.

Aldi has also announced that it is donating £250,000 to Age UK.

Aldi said: “This donation will help to ensure that Age UK’s vital services can stay open during this challenging time, helping to ensure that they can continue to support valuable members of the community who may not be able to get out to our stores.”


The German chain has introduced a four-item cap per item on shoppers.