CORONAVIRUS: Supermarkets across Lancaster district introduce special OAP shopping hours

Supermarkets across Lancaster and Morecambe are working to come up with solutions to help people in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
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The situation has led individual supermarkets to impose restrictions on some household purchases in a bid to fairly serve everyone.

And Iceland in Morecambe has now joined many others in offering a two-hour shopping slot to pensioners.

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The Arndale Centre store will open from 10am until noon on Wednesday, March 18, for OAPs.

Iceland has brought in measures to help pensioners.Iceland has brought in measures to help pensioners.
Iceland has brought in measures to help pensioners.

Until further notice the shop will open from 10 am to 6pm.

Tomorrow, Thursday March 19, Sainsbury's in Morecambe and Lancaster are both reserving the first hour (8am to 9am) for elderly shoppers to have a priority shop,

And from Monday March 23, online customers who are over 70 years of age or have a disability will have priority access to online delivery slots.

Sainsbury's customers are now only able to buy a maximum of three of any grocery product and a maximum of two of the most popular products including toilet paper, soap and UHT milk.

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Booths have asked customers to shop outside of 9.30-11am where possible, to allow vulnerable and elderly customers time to shop.

The Nationwide Building Society is also set to trial new branch opening times during the coronavirus outbreak, to help the elderly and vulnerable manage their money with a dedicated hour each morning.

From Wednesday March 18, more than 100 branches across the UK will open from 8am, instead of the usual 9am, for people aged 70 and above and those with underlying health conditions.

If successful and if there is shown to be a need, Nationwide will consider whether the trial could be extended to more branches across its 650-branch network.

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A statement published on behalf of major names including Aldi, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, Morrison's, Iceland and Lidl has urged shoppers to "be considerate" to their fellow shoppers.

The statement said: "We know that many of you are worried about the spread of coronavirus. We want to let you know that we are doing everything we can so that you and your families have the food and essentials you need.

"We are working closely with the Government and our suppliers to keep food moving quickly through the system and making more deliveries to our stores to ensure our shelves are stocked.

"Those of us with online delivery and click-and-collect services are running them at full capacity to help you get the products you need when you need them.

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"We thank all our colleagues in stores and supply chains who are working day and night to keep the nation fed. But we need your help too.

"We would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop. We understand your concerns but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without.

"There is enough for everyone if we all work together.

"Together we can make sure we are looking out for family, friends, neighbours. Together we will care for those around us and those who are elderly, vulnerable or choosing to remain at home.

"We are doing all we can to rise to this challenge. Serving you and keeping you and everyone who works with us safe will always be our priority."

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Major supermarkets are working on plans to streamline their operations by cutting cafes, counters and other services to enable a depleted workforce to maintain basic provisions during the coronavirus outbreak.

The UK's supermarket sector, including market leaders Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons, has struggled to keep shelves stocked as shoppers panic buy items such as dried pasta, canned food, flour, toilet rolls and hand sanitiser.

But executives are now working on plans to keep the stores running if large numbers of their staff become ill or if the outbreak forces the closure of schools, which would escalate workers' childcare needs.

“What [products] we can and can't get is the least of our current challenges,” one UK supermarket executive told Reuters.

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The person said far more pressing problems were how the business staffs its stores and how it practically helps the elderly and vulnerable when the virus takes hold of the UK population.

The government announcing the closure of all schools would be “a binary moment”, the person added.