UK supermarket coronavirus

What food is being rationed by supermarkets? Sainsbury’s, Tesco and more change rules amid coronavirus outbreak

Cleaning products, toilet roll and groceries all rationed during COVID-19

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The coronavirus pandemic has sparked big changes on the high street with food now being rationed by supermarkets.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Sainsbury’s has announced a raft of new measures which aim to stop stockpiling and ensure that everyone gets what they need.

Announcing the news on Twitter, the store’s chief executive Mike Coupe has revealed all stores will introduce an elderly hour.

Starting tomorrow (Thursday, March 18), shoppers over 70 and those classed as elderly will have exclusive access to the store.

UK supermarket coronavirus
Many supermarkets are rationing food and essentials during the coronavirus crisis (Credit: Cover Images)

The timing of this depends on when your local store opens – with some users on Twitter commenting that their store opens at 8am, which means pensioners will need to be the store pretty early if they want to take advantage of elderly hour.

For those who can’t get to a store, the supermarket will offer priority access to online shopping slots – from Monday, March 23 – to the elderly and disabled.

Click and collect is also being expanded, while cafes and meat, fish and pizza counters will be closed so staff can concentrate on stacking the shelves full of essential items.

Read more: Shoppers disgusted as woman steals loo roll from the food bank delivery trolley at Sainsbury’s

Elsewhere, Sainsbury’s aims to tackle the stockpiling problem by introducing rationing.

From now on, shoppers will only be able to buy a maximum of three grocery items and a maximum of two essential items such as toilet paper, hand soap and long-life milk.

Asda, too, is also closing its pizza counters and cafes and is restricting shoppers to three items on all food, toiletries and cleaning products.

A rep said: “We have plenty of products to go around, but we have a responsibility to do the right thing for our communities to help our customers look after their loved ones in a time of need.”

UK supermarket coronavirus
Empty supermarket shelves after shoppers stockpiled are now a common sight amid the coronavirus outbreak (Credit: Cover Images)

Aldi has put a four-limit restriction in place for all items.

Tesco also cut its limit from five to two items on products including toilet roll, long-life milk, pasta and tissues.

It has also cut opening hours at its 24-hour stores – they will now be open between 6am and 10pm.

Read more: Brits urged to treat self-isolation like Christmas with a tree, Baileys and board games

Morrisons also put measures in place to safeguard against the mass panic the coronavirus pandemic has caused.

It announced plans for an emergency expansion of its online delivery service and also said it was launching new food parcels to allow families to stock up during self-isolation.

They would be available from Monday (March 23) and simple to order, the store said.

We have plenty of products to go around, but we have a responsibility to do the right thing for our communities to help our customers look after their loved ones in a time of need.

The supermarket said it would be making more delivery slots available and launching a customer call centre for orders to be taken over the phone.

Morrisons also said it would be embarking on a recruitment drive, employing an additional 3,500 staff to ensure Brits are well catered for during the pandemic.

UK supermarket coronavirus
Freezers and fridges are also verging on empty in the big supermarkets amid COVID-19 (Credit: Cover Images)

It’s also urging customers to pay via card or smartphone to reduce cash handling.

Waitrose, meanwhile, has no cap in store, but online shoppers are facing restrictions on products such as anti-bacterial soaps and wipes.

They have been capped at four per person.

Bargain store Lidl currently has no limits on purchasing, with the chain simply stating it is “monitoring the situation”.

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