Supermarkets update social distancing rules as one way systems and vulnerable hours are scrapped

10 July 2020, 08:27 | Updated: 10 July 2020, 08:34

Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda have updated their social distancing rules
Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda have updated their social distancing rules. Picture: PA Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Iceland have updated their shopping rules.

As lockdown restrictions start to ease in the UK, supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s have made changes to their social distancing rules.

While Tesco will still continue to monitor how many customers are allowed in their stores at one time, some stores will increase capacity over the coming weeks.

It’s suggested that you should still be shopping alone if possible, but if you need to bring your children or carer, for example, this is now allowed.

The supermarket giant has also confirmed its one-way systems have been removed, but they will still have floor markings to remind shoppers to stay two metres apart.

There are still limits for Tesco shoppers
There are still limits for Tesco shoppers. Picture: PA Images

Tesco has also increased its item limit to 95 due to stocks returning to normal. Back in March, bosses put in an 80-item limit per customer in a bid to stop stockpiling.

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There are still stricter limits in place for some items - including a three-per-person on face coverings, antibacterial handwash, antibacterial wipes, flour, and eggs when buying online.

While some shops had begun scrapping dedicated elderly and vulnerable shopping hours, in Tesco these vulnerable shoppers still get priority access on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9am until 10am.

NHS workers also have priority hours every Tuesday and Thursday between 9am and 10am.

Check out how other supermarkets are changing below:


Sainsbury’s still has a limit on the number of people allowed in their stores at one time, which means only one adult from each family should be entering the store.

Supermarket shelves were emptied back in March
Supermarket shelves were emptied back in March. Picture: PA Images

However, the store recently confirmed it no longer has exclusive opening times for specific groups such as the elderly or key workers.

NHS workers 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.

Read More: How many John Lewis stores are closing and which ones will they be?


Asda recently announced it had extended its opening hours, with some shops open from 7am to midnight again.

However, the store has scrapped its priority hours for vulnerable and key worker groups.

Similarly to Sainsbury’s, it is offering priority to NHS staff and care workers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 9am.


Aldi is slightly looser on their ruling, with the store allowing families or couples to shop together.

But a statement on the official Aldi website states "In order to help with social distancing, we are encouraging all customers to try and reduce the number of family members they bring with them into our stores.

"Of course, we ask that all store staff use their discretion with children and parents."


The frozen food giant has also changed exclusive shopping hours for vulnerable groups, saying this is now at the discretion of managers.

A statement on their website reads: “We haven't cancelled our priority hours for elderly people; these are still offered from 8am-9am in all The Food Warehouse stores, and at the discretion of our Iceland store managers where sufficient local demand exists,” the statement read.

“In some stores the priority period is no longer required as elderly and vulnerable customers have heeded the Government's advice to stay at home, supplies have normalised and panic buying has subsided.

"This means that stores are better stocked throughout the day and there is no longer any particular advantage to customers in shopping first thing in the morning; they may well prefer to visit during the afternoon, when stores are usually quieter.”

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