New supermarket rules explained as three-tier restrictions come into force

19 October 2020, 10:33 | Updated: 19 October 2020, 10:39

Supermarkets have changed their rules
Supermarkets have changed their rules. Picture: PA Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

This is how the new three-tier restrictions will affect Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl.

After Boris Johnson’s ‘three tier’ announcement last week, now supermarkets have had to bring in strict new social distancing rules to keep their shoppers safe.

Under the new rules, areas have been ranked into ‘Medium’, ‘High’ and ‘Very High’ risk, with each region facing different restrictions.

In Tiers 2 and 3, residents have been banned from mixing with other households in any public spaces including pubs, restaurants, shops, leisure and entertainment venues.

This means while people can still go shopping, they must not go with anyone they don't live with or who is not in their ‘support bubble’.

Supermarkets have updated their coronavirus rules
Supermarkets have updated their coronavirus rules. Picture: PA Images

In Tier 1, customers are allowed to shop with people outside their households, as long as they are in groups of six or less.

Shoppers must also always follow strict social distancing guidelines at all times, and wear a mask unless exempt.

Here are the rules for each supermarket…

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Sainsbury's most vulnerable customers are still being given priority access to home delivery slots, while NHS and care workers will still have priority entry from 7:30am to 8am Monday to Saturday.

Elderly, vulnerable and disabled customers will still have priority entry from 8am to 9am Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The store has also increased the number of home delivery and Click and Collect slots, while customer sanitiser stations have also been rolled out in stores for some time.

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Tesco recently brought in a traffic light system in its larger stores which lets customers know whether they are allowed inside.

There are also hand sanitising stations being placed around stores, as well as masks being sold at the front of stores if customers have forgotten theirs.

The superstore has also extended opening hours in many of its shops to help safely manage the flow in and out, but most remain closed overnight.

In an email to shoppers, Tesco UK & Ireland CEO Jason Tarry also urged people not to panic buy, writing: "We have good stock levels, so please shop as you normally would so that everyone is able to get what they need.

"We may apply buying limits to some essential products to help with that too."

There is currently a three-item limit on:


Dried pasta

Toilet roll

Baby wipes

Anti-bacterial wipes

Tesco has a new traffic light system in stores
Tesco has a new traffic light system in stores. Picture: PA Images


‘Safety Marshals’ have now been stationed at the front of every store to help the flow of customers.

Asda has been applying a protective coating to all basket and trolley handles, while customers have been told to only pick up items they intend on buying.


Morrisons have also employed marshals to stand in front of stores to help assist customers.

They also said they have increased sanitising measures across all handles and touch points in their stores.

Morrisons became the first supermarket to introduce rationing again, with a three per person limit on a small number of key products, including toilet roll and disinfectant.

A Morrisons spokesperson said: "We are introducing a limit on a small number of key products, such as toilet roll and disinfectant.

"Our stock levels of these products are good but we want to ensure that they are available for everyone."

Morrison's has 'safety marshals' outside their stores
Morrison's has 'safety marshals' outside their stores. Picture: PA Images


A traffic light system is also displayed at most store entrances to keep the numbers at a safe level inside stores.

There are also hand sanitising stations inside and markers remain on the floor to encourage social distancing.


Lidl has a traffic light system in place to help notify shoppers of the quietest times.

Disposable gloves are also available for customers, while the store has reassured customers that they are not currently experiencing food shortages.

They told KentLive: "We hope all customers remain mindful of others when shopping with us to ensure everyone continues to have access to the products they need.

"Nonetheless, it is at our store managers discretion, should customers start to bulk-buy, to limit the purchasing of specific items at that store.”

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