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Tuesday 31st March 2020

Sainsbury's to hold three elderly opening hours per week throughout coronavirus crisis

They will also be open to NHS staff

Supermarket Sainsbury's has revealed that it will hold three elderly opening hours every week during the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement on Twitter, CEO Mike Coupe revealed the store wants to do more to ensure that older and more vulnerable members of society have access to essential food items during the COVIS-19 outbreak.

"We have taken further steps to make sure everyone has access to food and essential items, and to keep supporting our colleagues," Sainsbury's said online.

Shoppers were met with empty shelves at the first of the store's elderly opening hours (Credit: ED!)

The elderly opening hours will take place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from now on.

The elderly and vulnerable – along with NHS and social care workers – will have exclusive access to all Sainsbury's stores between 8am and 9am.

Read more: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit NHS 111 call centre amid coronavirus crisis

The statement read: "From Monday 23rd March, we are consolidating our opening hours and all our stores will be open from 8am to 8pm Monday-Saturday."

It revealed that Sainsbury's Local, petrol stations and Sunday opening would remain unchanged.

Sainsbury's said it had taken this decision for the good of its employees and to ensure it was "keeping shelves stocked".

The new elderly opening hours will see the most vulnerable mixing with NHS employees (Credit: Pexels)

"Many of you have told us how much you appreciated the hour we set aside for the elderly and vulnerable customers last Thursday, and that you would like this to become a regular event," Coupe added.

"Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday all our supermarkets will dedicate 8am to 9am to serving elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers, as well as NHS and Social Care workers," he added.

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"We have also taken steps to support our amazing colleagues, who are working around the clock to serve our customers," the statement concluded.

However, some have said that the decision is a mistake, as it means nurses and other NHS workers who have potentially been in contact with coronavirus patients could be mixing with the most at risk during the elderly opening hours.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday all our supermarkets will dedicated 8am to 9am to serving elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers, as well as NHS and Social Care workers.

One tweeted: "As a NHS worker who will have regular contact with patients who have coronavirus, I’m trying to minimise my contact with vulnerable groups. I appreciate the gesture, but I do not feel that I can shop at the same time as the elderly. Please consider separate shopping hours for us!"

Another added: "As an NHS doctor I appreciate your efforts aimed at helping the vulnerable and NHS staff. However, could you separate the days these groups are shopping so that the most vulnerable and highest risk carriers aren't shopping at the same time?"

Last week, we exclusively gave an insight into Sainsbury's first elderly opening hours, with one shopper telling ED! shelves were empty and only "expensive brands" were left.

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