Shoppers are grappling with yet more coronavirus measures today as supermarkets bring in safety marshals and traffic light systems as a new lockdown begins.
As the four-week winter lockdown sweeps across England with non-essential retail forced to close, supermarkets have implemented swingeing safety measures.
Asda is trialling a ‘safer queuing’ app that will see customers waiting in their cars before receiving a notification telling them they can enter the store.
It has stationed 1,000 ‘safety marshals’ at the front of stores and in the aisles of larger stores who will ‘reiterate Government guidelines to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.’
The supermarket giant has also put antimicrobial handles on basket and trolley handles, to ‘limit the spread of bacteria.’
Aldi is continuing with a traffic light system limiting the amount of people in stores.
Stores have also started rationing again in a bid to curb panic buying with a Tesco in Ely, Cambs, putting limits on essential goods, such as toilet rolls, flour and eggs.
Supermarket bosses have reminded couples and families not to shop together and reemphasised a raft of stringent rules amid the latest coronavirus lockdown, which came into force in England at midnight.
Asda has stationed 1,000 ‘safety marshals’ at the front of stores and in the aisles of larger stores
Sainsbury’s and Tesco have banned couples and families from shopping together in a bid to aid social distancing measures ahead of England’s new winter lockdown. Pictured, Sainsbury’s supermarket at Colton, on the outskirts of Leeds today
Lockdown one and two: Above, people observing social distancing while queuing at a Sainsbury’s supermarket at Colton, on the first day of the first national lockdown on March 24. Below, a photo taken today, the first day of the second national lockdown in England
Panic buying: A man was left gobsmacked after spotting a fellow shopper buying trolley-loads of rice, pasta and crisps at an Aldi store in Lincoln ahead of the start of the new lockdown
What are the rules for shops from today?
Shops that can stay open:
- Food shops
- Garden centres
- Retailers providing essential goods and services
Shops that must shut (including but not limited to):
- Electronics stores
- Vehicle showrooms
- Travel agents
- Betting shops
- Auction houses
- Car washes
- Tobacco and vape shops
Aldi, Morrisons and Tesco have previously shared details of priority shopping hours for the elderly and NHS workers, which look set to remain in place throughout the four-weeks of restrictions.
Sainsbury’s has today reminded customers to shop alone wherever possible in a bid to cut queues and aid social distancing inside its stores.
In a statement, CEO Simon Roberts said: ‘Where possible, we ask that you only send one adult per household when you shop with us.
‘This will help us manage the number of people in our stores and make your shop quicker and smoother.’
A notice on the supermarket’s website adds: ‘Our store teams will be asking groups with more than one adult to choose one adult to shop and will ask other adults to wait.
‘Children are welcome if they are not able to stay at home.’
Advice from Tesco currently asks that ‘only one person from each household comes in-store to do their shopping’.
Those at Waitrose have taken a similar stance, asking customers to ‘help us manage the number of people in our shops by sending only one member of the household to do their shopping.’
The guidance adds: ‘While this won’t be possible for everybody, we are very grateful for our customers’ support during this time of uncertainty.’
Queues of shoppers went around the massive Costco store in Lakeside, Essex, yesterday as customers stocked up before today’s lockdown
High Street bloodbath: More than 9,500 jobs in jeopardy
More than 9,500 jobs have been put in jeopardy at some of the biggest High Street names as England goes into lockdown once again today.
John Lewis cut a further 1,500 jobs yesterday, adding to the 1,300 axed when it permanently shut eight stores in July.
Lloyds Bank is to make 1,070 more staff redundant on top of the 865 earlier in the pandemic.
And Sainsbury’s confirmed this morning that it will cut around 3,500 jobs across its Argos stores and supermarket meat, fish and deli counters.
Meanwhile Clarks shoes put the jobs of all 4,000 of its store staff on notice as part of its fight for survival.
This advice was reintroduced this week after the supermarket relaxed its approach over the summer.
Aldi is also encouraging customers to shop alone, with current advice stating: ‘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.
‘Where necessary we are using discretion, but like all supermarkets we’re asking people to come alone if possible to support social distancing in our stores.’
This guidance has been in place throughout the pandemic in many of the aforementioned stores.
Supermarkets across Britain first introduced measures banning multiple members of a family from shopping together in March, when Boris Johnson announced a draconian lockdown due to the growing pandemic.
He unveiled a second lockdown for England on Saturday, which will come into force at midnight tonight and last for four weeks until December 2.
Under the rules, all but essential shops will close alongside restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and leisure centres.
The furlough scheme that pays workers 80 per cent of their wages will be extended for a month, and travel outside the UK will be allowed only for ‘work’.
Bare shelves at a Tesco superstore in Cambridge ahead of the national lockdown, as customers stock up on bread
Rationing starts in Tesco
Supermarkets are rationing their goods again as customers panic buy.
Tesco supermarket in Ely, Cambs, has put limits on essential goods, such as toilet rolls, flour and eggs.
Supermarkets have been urging people not to stockpile items, but customers appear to be taking no notice and are stocking up on non-essential items and cupboard goods, just as they did back in March before the first national lockdown.
On Monday the shelves were bare in aisles at Asda in Cambridge and Tesco in Ely in Cambridgeshire.
Home delivery slots are also getting booked up, with many customers struggling to get slots and taking to Twitter to complain.
Amsilks tweeted: ‘It’s already started * cannot get an online shopping slot at tesco in the next three weeks! Great everyone * As a teacher I’ll be at work after Thursday just like I have been since the first lockdown!’
Chris added: ‘Tesco we have delivery saver and a newborn and can’t get a delivery slot for days * is there anyway you can help us out?’
Mr Johnson said it was the the only way to avert bleak Sage predictions of 85,000 deaths this winter.
He warned it that happened it would force doctors to choose between saving Covid sufferers and those with other illnesses.
News of the lockdown sparked a second bout of panic buying in British supermarkets, with stores forced to start rationing their products again after shoppers descended on shops en masse.
Supermarkets have been urging people not to stockpile items, but customers appear to be taking no notice and are buying large amount of non-essential items and cupboard goods, just as they did back in March before the first national lockdown.
Home delivery slots are also getting booked up, with many customers struggling to get slots and taking to Twitter to complain.
A Tesco supermarket in Ely, Cambridgeshire, put limits on essential goods such as toilet rolls, flour and eggs on Tuesday.
The shelves were also stripped bare in aisles at Asda in Cambridge and Tesco in Ely in Cambridgeshire a day earlier.
Elysium Sexsmith said shelves of products such as pasta, toilet roll and nappies were cleared entirely in his local Lidl in Luton.
‘There was absolutely no stock on the shelves whatsoever,’ the 41-year-old musician said.
‘There’s kitchen towel but no toilet rolls… there were people picking up the kitchen rolls and wondering if they can use that.
‘I was in absolute disbelief, and I literally walked out of the shop shaking my head.
‘At this point in time it didn’t have a major impact on me… but there is the concern that I may not be able to get essential supplies in a week’s time if this carries on.’
M&S shoppers book slots
Shoppers at Marks & Spencer can now jump the lockdown supermarket queue by booking a timed slot to enter the chain’s food halls.
With lockdown two starting on Thursday amid plunging temperatures, dismal scenes of supermarket queues and already booked out online delivery slots look set to become all too familiar once again.
Dubbed ‘Sparks Book and Shop’, M&S shoppers with or without a Sparks loyalty card can now visit its website and book a guaranteed time slot to shop at their local store without having to queue.
After a trial across 80 stores in Scotland and Wales, the scheme is now available to use across all M&S’s 566 food halls and larger stores containing food halls.
Dominic Roberts, a store manager at M&S in Pontardulais, said: ‘At a time when it’s been hard to plan ahead, customers like the certainty of being able to book a slot and we’ve received great feedback about the service – especially as restrictions have increased.’
The move may prove popular for those who like to do a physical shop rather than head online to get groceries in.
Supermarkets have repeatedly encouraged shoppers not to stockpile, with Lidl’s website telling customers: ‘Our stores are being replenished every day.
‘That item you want to buy ‘just in case’, might be essential for someone more vulnerable who can’t visit the store multiple times.’
A Tesco spokesperson said: ‘We have good availability in stores and online, with plenty of stock to go round, and we would encourage our customers to shop as normal.’
Ratula Chakraborty, professor of business management at the University of East Anglia (UEA), said it is unclear how widespread the issue of panic buying is but it could ‘spiral out of control’ without intervention.
‘Unfortunately, some customers are going crazy in grabbing everything they can to put in their trolleys… in turn, this is encouraging copycat behaviour by other shoppers,’ she said.
‘The result is empty shelves and the possibility of panic buying spiralling out of control.
‘Shoppers will naturally think of their own needs and will fear losing out if they see other shoppers stockpiling.’
A UK Government spokesperson said: ‘As the Prime Minister said on Saturday, essential shops will remain open, so there is no need to stock up. Our message to everyone is that people should be considerate in the way they shop.
‘The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain which held up well in the spring, and will do so again.
‘We continue to work closely with food retailers and the food industry as we have done throughout the response to the coronavirus pandemic. They report no overall supply issues.’
Mark Hall, waste management specialist at Business Waste added: ‘The second wave of panic buying that is occurring is utterly disgraceful. During the first wave we saw tons of perishable goods being recklessly stockpiled to only go to landfill in the weeks after.
Shelves of toilet rolls are left bare after customers panic buy, despite the fact that food stores will remain open during England’s winter lockdown
‘There is no shortage of food or toilet paper as we learned from experience and we are only putting the pressure back on supermarket supply chains for no reason. We have to stop and think about the elderly and those who can only access their local shops for their weekly shop and stop panic buying.
‘If we continue to send food waste to landfill it will decompose, rot and produce methane, one of the most damaging greenhouse gasses. Food waste is best disposed of through anaerobic digestion and composting to minimise the harmful impact to the environment.’
Key points in COVID lockdown Mark 2
- People can only leave their homes for specific reasons, such as to do essential shopping, for outdoor exercise, and for work if they are unable to work from home.
- Non-essential shops will be told to shut
- Restaurants and bars will be told to close unless they can operate a takeaway service.
- Travel abroad is only permitted for ‘essential’ reasons such as work, people can still return to the UK from abroad.
- Leisure centres, gyms, sporting venues, hairdressers and beauty parlours will have to close, although professional sport will continue.
- Key businesses that cannot operate remotely – such as construction – should carry on as before.
- Places of worship can stay open for private prayer. Funerals are limited to close family only.
- The furlough scheme will be extended during the period of the lockdown
- Exercise is permitted with no limits on frequency, but organised sports – including outdoor activities such as golf – will not be permitted.
The NEW Essentials: How Home Bargains, B&Q and Halfords and Hobbycraft will remain open or operate click-and-collect service over lockdown
By Dan Sales
Craft and bargain stores are among those able to stay open or keep selling goods during the UK’s second lockdown – as new rules were revealed on the new breed of essential shops.
As tomorrow’s shutdown hurtled ever closer, businesses from across the nation today told how they would be able to keep going during the restrictions.
And among them were some – and perhaps surprising – new additions offering services they were unable to first time around.
In what could be shrewd move to help families bored at home, Hobbycraft is now offering a click and collect service for customers.
Hobbycraft is keeping up a click & collect service for customers during the second lockdown
Halfords is classed as an essential retail shop so is allowed to still stay open during November
Toolstation was open during the first lockdown and confirmed it would be the same this time
It told MailOnline today: ‘Stores in England will be closed from 8pm on November 4 and are scheduled to reopen on December 2.
‘Click & Collect will be available from stores in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
‘It is new for this time round. It wasn’t available in the first lockdown but will be this time in line with the government guidelines.’
Bargain stores B&M and low price store Poundland are both expecting to stay open during the second lockdown.
They both sell essential items so fall within the rules laid out by the government.
Poundland said: ‘ We’re open for you throughout November.
Poundland sells items classed as essential so is able to stay open during the second lockdown
Home Bargains will be open to customers to shop inside during the second lockdown period
‘With even more of the essentials you need under one roof, we’re ready for when you need us.’
Home Bargains stores will also stay open during the second lockdown,as they did in the first.
Hardware and decorating outlet B & Q have also confirmed they will be open during the shutdown period.
A spokesperson said: ‘As an essential retailer, our stores across the UK and Ireland will remain open, with strong controls and strict social distancing measures in place.’
Those wanting to get sporty during the period can also take advantage of Halford’s being open.
It has been classed as an essential retailer and have various measures in place to keep Covid-safe.
B&Q said its UK and Ireland stores will stay open, with controls and social distancing measures
They have put extensive social distancing measures in place and even have a built bike delivery service for customers that don’t want to go into stores
The shop is also offering a contactless mobile expert, where their vans – described as ‘garages on wheels’ = can visit customers at home
Others have put in one-way systems for shoppers as well as plenty of hand sanitiser and social distancing measures.
The story is the same at Toolstation stores that are going to remain open seven days a week across the UK as an essential retailer.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Continuing to operate with enhanced safety and social distancing measures in place to safely provide tools and more to our customers, who can purchase directly in store or through our click and collect service.’
But the Mike Ashley-owned Sports Direct were tight-lipped today over their plans.
It was in stark contrast to the first lockdown when they insisted they sold essential goods and should stay open, before eventually backing down.
They did not respond to a MailOnline request as to whether their stores would be opening tomorrow.
The impending lockdown had sparked some pockets of panic-buying in the UK.
Shelves were bare in aisles at Asda in Cambridge and Tesco in Ely in Cambridgeshire earlier this week.
Home delivery slots were also getting booked up, with many customers struggling to get slots.
Hundreds of customers have also been seen lining up to get into stores, including Sainsbury’s and wholesalers Costco.
Primark – which will have to close under lockdown – also saw queues outside its flagship Oxford Street store.
A retail worker at fashion chain Bershka’s Oxford Street store told MailOnline: ‘It has been really busy. It was half term as well so I don’t think it’s all been due to the lockdown. But this weekend has been busier.’
Here we go again! From work to gym to going to the salon, what you can and can’t do as we prepare for a second lockdown
This month’s lockdown will not be the same as spring’s. Schools will stay open, and we can still meet one person from another household outside.
More people will carry on travelling in to work, and the elderly will not be ordered to ‘shield’ indoors.
Here’s a handy guide to what the new rules mean for you and your loved ones…
FRIENDS AND FAMILY
- All home visits – including in gardens – are banned unless you are part of a support bubble. The ban includes partners who live elsewhere.
- Unlike in the first lockdown, you can – when on your own – meet one friend, relative or partner from another household outdoors, to exercise or sit in a park
- Children under school age will not count towards this two-person total, health minister Nadine Dorries tweeted last night. This means, for example, that two new mothers could bring their babies for a chat in the park. Adults who require round-the-clock care will also not be counted in the total.
- Playgrounds will remain open – unlike last time – meaning children can still play on the swings.
- Children of separated parents may continue to move between both homes.
NURSERIES, SCHOOLS AND CHILDCARE
- Educational institutions, from nurseries and schools to colleges and universities, will remain open.
- Childminders can carry on working. ‘Childcare bubbles’ will also still be valid – meaning grandparents can care for children after school.
- After-school clubs and youth groups will stop for the next month.
- Universities have been asked to shift more lectures online where possible.
- Students cannot return home to see family until the end of term.
Unlike in the first lockdown, you CAN meet a friend, relative or partner from another household outdoors, to exercise or sit in a park
If you must take public transport, avoid busy times and routes. Always wear a mask and maintain social distancing where possible
The quirks of the new lockdown rules
- You can get a takeaway pint but only if you order online, by phone or by post
- Children can play team sports in school but not outside
- Public parks and stately gardens are allowed to stay open, but not botanical gardens
- You’ll be allowed to jog with a friend but you can’t play singles tennis
- Public land fishing is allowed but going to an angling club will be banned
- You can go for a walk with a friend and your three-year-old, but not your six-year-old
- Swimming pools and lidos will be closed but you’ll be allowed to swim in the sea or a lake
- Private prayer in places of worship is allowed, but not congregational
- Cleaners, carers and trade workers are allowed to work in your home
- You can meet people you don’t live with – but only one-to-one and only outdoors for exercise or recreation
GOING TO WORK
- Everybody who can work from home should do so.
- If you cannot do your job from home then you can continue to travel in. Examples include those in construction or manufacturing.
- Those whose work involves going into others’ homes – such as plumbers and cleaners – may continue to do so.
- Those deemed ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ – such as cancer patients – should work from home or claim Statutory Sick Pay.
- Workers currently on furlough will continue to be paid 80 per cent of their wages through November, up to a maximum of £2,500.
VULNERABLE PEOPLE AND CARE HOMES
- The elderly and those who are clinically vulnerable are not being asked to shield this time – unlike during the first lockdown.
- They will, however, be advised to be follow the rules carefully and minimise social contact.
- Older people should not refrain from exercise. They are encouraged to get some fresh air or walk the dog.
- New guidance on care home visits is expected later this week. Current restrictions are in place until then.
- If you need to care for a vulnerable person, such as a family member or neighbour, you are allowed to do so.
- Travelling outside your local area should be avoided, and the number of trips taken should be reduced.
- Going to medical appointments and the shops is still allowed.
- You can even travel for exercise, as long as it is a short journey.
- If you must take public transport, avoid busy times and routes. Always wear a mask and maintain social distancing where possible.
- Going on holiday is banned. Overseas travel is allowed for work or essential trips only.
- Travelling to holiday homes is also outlawed. Hotel stays are only allowed for work reasons.
- If you are already on holiday, you do not have to travel home straight away. Those in countries with ‘travel corridors’ won’t need to self-isolate upon their return.
Going on holiday is banned. Overseas travel is allowed for work or essential trips only
Hairdressers and beauty salons will be shut again, as will massage parlours and tanning salons
SHOPS AND LEISURE
- Supermarkets, food shops and pharmacists will remain open – meaning there is no need to head out and panic-buy.
- Non-essential retail outlets, from car showrooms to clothing shops, will remain closed until the lockdown is over.
- Those offering click-and-collect options can continue to operate – meaning that, unlike last time, you will be able to order some items online and pick them up in person.
- Restaurants, cafes and pubs will all shut their doors to sit-in customers – but can carry on providing a takeaway service.
- Alcohol cannot be served, however, meaning no repeat of the summer’s ‘takeaway pint’ phenomenon seen at many pubs.
- Garden centres will be allowed to remain open.
- Leisure facilities – such as gyms, swimming pools and soft play facilities – will be shut.
- Golf courses and riding centres will close too, despite the activities largely taking place outdoors.
- Hairdressers and beauty salons will be shut again, as will massage parlours and tanning salons.
- Cinemas, theatres and bingo halls will also be forced to close their doors, along with zoos and botanical gardens.
- GP surgeries and many hospitals will stay open for both urgent and non-urgent appointments.
- Jobcentres will also continue to help people find work.
- Courts and register offices will continue to operate, with a view to preventing more backlogs.
- Food banks and blood donation services will continue to operate, too.
- Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or bereavement services, will have a limit of 15 people per session.
Weddings and civil partnerships will not be allowed to go ahead unless there are exceptional circumstances
WEDDINGS, FUNERALS AND WORSHIP
- Places of worship will be closed unless it is for a funeral, individual prayer, broadcasted acts of worship, formal childcare, blood donation, food banks or support groups.
- Churches, mosques and synagogues can open their doors for individual worship but communal services are banned.
- As is currently the case, funerals may be attended by a maximum of 30 people.
- Weddings and civil partnerships will not be allowed to go ahead unless there are exceptional circumstances.