Lockdown rules across England are due to change on Monday as the country enters Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap.
The new easing of restrictions will see cinemas, museums, theatres and more reopen, as well as bars and restaurants open for indoor dining and drinking.
The Prime Minister confirmed this week that the country has passed the four tests in place to ease lockdown restrictions to the next level, which includes the success of the vaccine rollout, evidence of vaccine efficacy, new variants and infection rates.
This means that from Monday the country will gain some more ‘normality’ as restrictions ease further – but can we expect changes to the way we shop?
From May 17 people will be able to meet indoors in groups of six, or two separate households, which means shopping trips in groups of this size will be permitted.
Face masks will continue to be compulsory by law and shoppers are expected to follow any traffic light or one-way systems in stores.
Some retailers may ask shoppers to limit how many people enter their stores at the same time, so it’s important to check what the rules are before entering – these guidelines must be displayed at the entrance.
Tesco has several strict rules in place during lockdown, including a more recent crackdown on the wearing of face masks.
To keep shoppers safe, Tesco is asking customers to shop alone unless they’re with a carer or children.
The retailer is also operating a one-in, one-out system to limit the number of people in store at one time, in addition to its traffic light system.
Tesco is also asking shoppers to sanitise their hands, baskets and trolleys before and after shopping.
In a note on its website, Tesco said: “It’s a legal requirement to wear a face covering in our stores
“To protect our colleagues and customers, we won’t let anyone into our stores who isn’t wearing a face covering, unless they’re exempt in line with government guidance. Please also make sure that you wear your face covering correctly – covering your mouth and your nose.”
Tesco recently removed its one-way system after feedback from shoppers.
Asda has issued a number of updates since the pandemic began, including making face masks mandatory and adding ‘safety marshals’ to its doors to remind shoppers of the Government guidelines.
Also among the rules are:
Additional hand sanitisation stations
Social distancing measures
Hygiene measures including the use of sanitiser spray and increased cleaning in busy areas
Perspex screens at checkouts and kiosks
Scan & Go – To help reduce contact in stores Asda also rolled out ‘Scan and Go’ mobile to all of its supermarkets, superstores and supercentres. Customers can use their own device to scan their shopping and pack as they go.
Contactless payments – Credit and debit card contactless payment limit amount has now been increased to £45
A note on Sainsbury’s website says: “To keep our customers and colleagues safe when shopping in our stores you must wear a mask or visor unless you have a medical exemption. Security guards will support our colleagues at the front of store and will challenge customers who are not wearing masks.
“To help manage the number of customers in our stores you must also shop on your own, this will help make your shop quicker. We will also challenge customers who are shopping in groups.
“We have also significantly reduced the number of customers allowed in our stores at any one time to ensure social distancing is maintained at all times.
“We will continue to have socially distanced queuing systems in place outside our stores, supported by a greeter at the front of stores at busier times of day and we ask that you please queue at a safe distance of two metres apart.”
Morrisons has implemented several new measures during lockdown, including a new next-day doorstep delivery service and priority access for NHS workers.
The supermarket giant is also managing queues outside its shops by allowing customers with a basket to skip the queue.
Customers doing a smaller shop can get into the store where three customers who are only carrying a basket can enter for every one person with a trolley.
Face coverings are mandatory.
Marks & Spencer
In a message on the M&S website, the retailer says: “To help keep all our customers and colleagues well, our stores will have additional social distancing measures in place. Please be kind and give everyone space.
“Colleagues across our stores and supply chain have been provided with additional hygiene products to use – from hand sanitisers and Perspex screens at till points – and extra cleaning is taking place to keep our excellent standards for you and our teams.
“It is mandatory for customers to wear face coverings in stores across the UK, with the exception of young children or people with certain health conditions.
“M&S colleagues are required to wear face coverings in England, Scotland and Wales. As with customers, the government had made some exceptions for colleagues.”
According to Aldi’s website, there are several rules in place to ensure the safety of staff and customers.
Its website says: “To ensure the safety of our customers and colleagues, it is mandatory for all customers (with certain exceptions) shopping in our stores to wear a face covering for the duration of their visit.
“Those who refuse to wear a face covering, without medical exemption, will not be allowed in store. We thank you for your cooperation.
“Right now, we are all looking out for each other, and your safety continues to be our number one priority.
“That’s why most Aldi stores have a traffic light system to ensure that social distancing guidelines can be followed easily and safely. To minimise the number of people in store at any one time, we ask that you shop alone where possible.
“While our stores remain open, the health and safety of our colleagues and customers is paramount, that’s why we are implementing the following steps to encourage social distancing.”
These social distancing measures include:
Trolley and basket cleaning stations at all stores
Floor markers at checkouts to ensure a safe distance between customers
Perspex screens at all till points to protect staff and customers
Aldi is encouraging customers to pay via card or contactless
A limited number of shoppers allowed in stores at busy times
In a note on Lidl’s website, it says: “Wearing a face covering in our stores is mandatory in Scotland, England and Wales in line with government regulations, to help keep everyone safe.
“A member of security may remind customers of the requirement to wear a face covering in our stores. However, we understand that some customers are exempt from doing so*.
“Forgotten your mask? Don’t worry, these are available to pick up at the entrance of our stores, to then purchase at the till when you complete your shop.
“A gentle reminder, when purchasing age-restricted products, you may be asked to temporarily remove your face covering by store colleagues to verify your age.
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“Whilst we always urge customers to use the tongs provided in our bakery, as a temporary measure, you’ll also notice there are disposable gloves for you to use in order to bag loose items yourself, safely. We’re continuing to monitor this area of our store, and will change the way we’re doing things if necessary.
“We’ve increased the contactless payment limit in all of our stores, from £30 to £45.
“Please pay safely using contactless whenever possible, or card payments for transactions over £45 .
“We have installed cough and sneeze proof screens at each of our checkouts, to help protect both our store teams and you, our customers.
“The next time you shop with us, you’ll notice we’ve put trolley and basket cleaning stations in place, along with antiviral disinfectant and hand sanitiser for sanitising your hands.
“We’d like to ask you to please clean your basket or trolley before you start your shop. This will help ensure we keep you and our team members as safe as we can.”