Britain's supermarkets are facing calls to set aside time exclusively for elderly and vulnerable shoppers to ensure those most at risk in the coronavirus crisis can get the essentials they need.
An Iceland shop in Northern Ireland has announced plans to open its doors for older customers only, allow them to shop free from the disruption caused by panic-buyers.
Starting from Tuesday (March 17), the shop - located in Belfast's Kennedy Centre - will be letting elderly people in from 8am to 9am.
The supermarket said in a statement, as reported by Metro: "Iceland Foods will be opening their store between 8-9am for the elderly commencing Tuesday March 17.
"Could the wider public please respect this hour, and understand that this time is allocated for elderly people only. Iceland appeal to people's better nature when realising who needs priority."
Now, people on social media are demanding that all of Britain's supermarkets put similar measures in place.
One said on Twitter: "Open the supermarkets an hour early just for the elderly so they can get vital essentials. Many elderly at this minute can't get essential products because of greedy people hoarding."
Another tweeted: "I saw that Iceland branches are allocating 8am to 9am for elderly shoppers... this should be expanded to all major supermarkets."
All supermarkets should be doing this, 100 per cent.
A third wrote: "Maybe it would be nice for supermarkets to only allow the elderly in for an hour or two a day so they don't have to deal with panicky, trashy, hoarding Walmartesque people while shopping to stay alive."
Someone else said: "All supermarkets should be doing this, 100 per cent. Let's look after our elderly and vulnerable first, the rest of us will be ok."
A fifth put: "Hopefully moving forward @Asda @Tesco @AldiUK @Morrisons @sainsburys and all other supermarkets will follow suit and dedicate their first hour of business to the vulnerable and elderly, to allow them to stock up themselves before the inconsiderate [bleeps] get there."
Open the supermarkets a hour early just for the elderly so they can get vital essentials many elderly at this minute can’t get essential products because of greedy people hoarding.
— Benonwine (@benonwine) March 16, 2020
I saw that Iceland branches are allocating 8am to 9am for elderly shoppers....this should be expanded to all major supermarkets
— CMT (@CMTona48) March 16, 2020
On Sunday (March 15), the British Retail Consortium issued a letter calling for customers to be more considerate in the way they shop.
The message, published in newspaper adverts and signed by retailers Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Aldi, Coop, Lidl, Iceland, M&S, Waitrose, Costcutter and Ocado, said that while companies "understand [people's] concerns", panic-buying and stockpiling means "others will be left without".
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