Supermarkets announce new rules to prevent overcrowding as restrictions are tightened for Christmas

21 December 2020, 07:14 | Updated: 21 December 2020, 10:39

There are new rules in place at supermarkets
There are new rules in place at supermarkets. Picture: PA Images/Getty Images

Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Aldi and Morrisons have new rules as areas of England head into Tier 4 this Christmas.

Supermarkets are set to be even busier this Christmas following Boris Johnson's last minute rule change for families meeting up over the festive period.

And with many non-essential shops forced to close in Tier 4 areas across the south-east of England, people are going to be relying on grocery stores even more.

In response to this, many supermarkets have announced new rules to ensure their customers are kept safe. Find out all the new restrictions below…


Sainsbury's has announced it is limiting shoppers to one person per trolley wherever this is possible.

Sainsbury's is increasing delivery slots and click and collect
Sainsbury's is increasing delivery slots and click and collect. Picture: PA Images

Writing on Twitter, Sainsbury's wrote: "Our stores will be really busy coming up to Christmas.

"To help us maintain social distancing for customers and colleagues and reduce queues, please shop alone wherever possible."

In a bid to help those who cannot get to the shops at all, they have also increased the number of home delivery and Click and Collect slots available.

Elderly and vulnerable customers still have priority access to online orders, which will continue to be delivered without bags.

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Tesco is still operating their traffic light system to help manage the flow of people and they have encouraged shoppers to go to their stores alone if they can.

Tesco is continuing its dedicated hours for vulnerable and elderly customers and is also giving new priority access to NHS, emergency service and care workers.

Tesco is urging shoppers to come alone
Tesco is urging shoppers to come alone. Picture: PA Images

Bosses have also urged people not to panic buy after the Prime Ministers new rules were announced on Saturday.

A source for Tesco told the Telegraph: “We will not run out of food. There is no reason to panic buy.

“There are the same number of shoppers out there as there were before any new announcement and we have enough stock to supply them all, even if more now come into our stores because online delivery slots are full.”


With queues starting to build up again, ASDA has introduced virtual queueing so their customers don’t have to wait outside in the cold.

By scanning a QR code from posters at the stores, shoppers can queue on their phone, rather than in person.

Asda also has additional security staff over the festive period between December 19 and 24 to manage queues.

In Wales, ASDA - as well as other supermarkets - has started blocking off non-essential items including toys, after the country entered another national lockdown.

ASDA in Cardiff has cordoned off all 'non essential' items
ASDA in Cardiff has cordoned off all 'non essential' items. Picture: PA Images

The Welsh Government has drawn up a list of what supermarkets can and can't sell which includes a ban on toys, Christmas decorations and candles.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "We know the speed at which the alert level four measures had to be brought in will have been frustrating for people hoping to complete their Christmas preparations over the coming days.

“This action was necessary in the face of worrying new information about the fast-moving mutated strain of the virus which is circulating in Wales and the increasing pressure on our NHS.

“All businesses can offer click and collect services, which will enable people to buy the items they need without having to go into shops.


Lidl has still got plenty of safety restrictions in place, including newly introduced disposable gloves in the bakery section so people can bag loose items

There are also cough and sneeze proof screens installed at each checkout and cleaning stations.

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Aldi also has trolley and basket cleaning stations in all stores, as well as social distancing markers on the floor.

Entry may be limited at busy times, while there are Perspex screens installed around till points to protect customers.


Morrisons have been encouraging customers to book food shop deliveries in advance for their Christmas shopping.

They also have next-day doorstep delivery for self-isolating or vulnerable customers.

Morrisons says: "If you are isolating, please add this information to your delivery instructions so our driver can organise with you how to best deliver your order.

"We are increasing production where possible so that we can service the high levels of customer demand we are currently seeing. Please be patient and continue to check the website for our latest range.

"Thank you for your patience and consideration whilst shopping with us in these uncertain times.

"Our colleagues - and fellow customers - are facing the same pressures as you, and really appreciate your understanding and respect in these testing times.

"Thank you to our customers for your ongoing support as we work through the below challenges to our usual service."

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Now Read: What are the Tier 4 rules, how long will they last, and how will they affect Christmas?