UK Supermarkets now have special opening times to help in the fight against coronavirus.
Keep informed on the right time for you to do your groceries depending on your circumstances so you don't end up staring at empty shelves, with extra information on deliveries and special hours for emergency workers and the elderly and vulnerable.
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What are the new supermarket opening hours?
Several UK supermarkets will be operating slightly different trading times amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Tesco, Waitrose and others have said branches will close earlier to allow staff enough time to keep shelves replenished, while also allowing special dedicated shopping hours for pensioners, the vulnerable, NHS workers and paramedics.
There are also social distancing measures in place in most stores, such as one-in-one-out policies and spaced out queing, as well as the closure of delis.
Stores open from 8am, however are reducing trading hours by closing two hours early every night (at 8pm) to allow staff to replenish products – find your local here.
Sunday hours differ, with stores closing at 4pm.
The store has temporarily closed its 24 hour stores between 12am and 6am – find your local here.
Cafes and pizza counters have been closed.
Most stores open from 6am or 7am, find your local here.
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Stores open from 8am and close at 9pm, with some operating on reduced hours amid the pandemic – find your local here.
All stores have dedicated opening hours for NHS and elderly.
Lidl stores open from 8am – find your local here.
Most opening hours remain unchanged, but some local stores may be operating different hours to deal with the crisis.
Store opening times vary between 6am and 9am – find your local here. At present, these hours remain unchanged in all stores.
The first hour of trade has been set aside for over 70s and vulnerable customers on Mondays and Thursdays, and NHS workers on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Morrisons has not announced any changes to opening times, with most stores open from 7am – find your local here.
Sainsbury's stores open between 8am and 8pm on weekdays from March 23.
Sunday opening hours will remain the same – find your local here
Tesco has made changes to its 24 hour stores – find your local here.
Trading hours will now be 6am to 10pm, allowing staff more time to restock the shelves for the morning rush.
Stores are closing all meat, fish, deli and salad counters.
Waitrose opening times vary from 7am to 8am, and some stores will be closing an hour early – find your local here.
The first opening hour will be dedicated to elderly and vulnerable customers, and their carers.
What are the special hours for the elderly and vulnerable?
Very elderly and vulnerable people are ordered to self-isolate for 12 weeks.
In order to help, stores have been dedicating "silver hours" to allow over 70's to do their shopping more safely and in peace while food parcel deliveries are being set up by distributors and councils.
Supermarket measures are aimed at shielding the elderly from the effects of panic buying, which has seen essential products stripped from the shelves.
Please note that this is a general overview. Double-check what time your local shop is open by clicking the links to their store locators if you are in doubt as they may vary depending on location.
Here's our updated list on Silver Hour times:
- Aldi is not providing elderly hours, but are working with Neighbourly and Age UK to support older customers.
- Asda has priority shopping hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8-9 am.
- Co-op has a dedicated shopping hour for vulnerable customers, those that care for them and NHS workers from 8am to 9am Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 11am on Sundays in all stores.
- Iceland is offering "priority hours" that vary between stores. It is not clear when these generally are but you can find out what your local Iceland is doing here.
- Lidl is allowing only the pensioners in for the first two hours in all stores across Ireland – but remain open as usual, with safety measures in-store, but no silver hour.
- M&S has said that the first opening hour (generally 8am to 9am, but please check locally) will be dedicated to elderly and vulnerable customers, and their carers on Mondays and Thursdays.
- Morrisons is not providing silver hours but has hired Marie Curie and CLIC Sargent workers to provide more help in-store to elderly and vulnerable customers. It has also focussed on sending £35 food boxes to those who are self-isolating.
- Sainsbury's is opening their doors to elderly and vulnerable customers from 8-9am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They are also prioritising seniors for online shopping.
- Tesco – all stores (except Express stores) will be prioritising the elderly and most vulnerable for one hour between 9am and 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
- Waitrose will allow only elderly people to shop for the first hour of opening at supermarket stores (generally from 7 or 8am, but please check as they really do vary) and are working on special online delivery slots for over 70s.
Are there special hours for NHS and emergency workers?
NHS and emergency workers and carers are generally being given priority, but need to bring their photo ID's because some very sad people have been trying to abuse the system.
Here's our updated list on NHS, emergency worker and carer times:
- Aldi all emergency workers, including the NHS, can visit Aldi stores to get a 30 minute head start every Sunday prior to the store opening time so they can buy it as the store opens.
- Asda NHS workers will have priority in store on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8am and 9am.
- Co-op has a dedicated shopping hour for carers, the vulnerable and NHS workers from 8am to 9am Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 11am on Sundays in all stores.
- Iceland The last hour of trade in Iceland stores will be dedicated to NHS staff with ID. In its food warehouse stores, NHS workers will be allowed early access for the first-hour trading at 7am. Again, this varies by stores. You can find out what your local Iceland is doing here.
- Lidl are working with Royal Voluntary Service to donate fresh fruit and vegetable bags to hospital sites and frontline health workers. There are no special measures for NHS staff in-store.
- M&S has dedicated the first hour of trading on Tuesdays and Fridays (generally 8am to 9am, but please check locally).
- Morrisons NHS hour at all of its stores is Monday to Saturday from 7am to 8pm.
- Sainsbury's NHS and social care workers will be able to shop in supermarkets for 30 minutes before they open, from 7:30am to 8am, from Monday to Saturday.
- Tesco NHS workers will have access to a dedicated hour every Sunday before checkouts open. Some stores are also giving nurses flowers, which is a nice touch.
- Waitrose is setting aside hard-to-find and essential products, and giving a priority checkout service to NHS workers (generally from 7 or 8am, but please check as they really do vary). John Lewis is sending goodies to hospitals too, including "Easter treats", pillows, hand cream and phone chargers.
Which supermarkets do online delivery?
All supermarkets are providing a home delivery service of some sort, but slots are in short supply.
Able-bodied people who are not self-isolating are encouraged not to use home delivery services so slots that are in short supply can go to the elderly, vulnerable and emergency workers working tough shifts.
If you can help out your vulnerable neighbours by getting their shopping for them then that will relieve a lot of stress on delivery services too.
Most supermarkets will be emailing elderly and vulnerable customers to help them get special slots and prioritisation.
Please add a note to warn delivery drivers if you are self-isolating when placing your order.
The following supermarkets and companies do home delivery, which you can find on their websites:
- Abel & Cole do weekly grocery boxes with a £12 minimum order and £1.25 delivery fee.
- Amazon are doing grocery deliveries with a £40 minimum spend under Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh.
- Aldi has put restrictions on wine online due to unprecedented demand.
- Asda £40 minimum spend. There are extremely limited spaces until mid April.
- Co-op has a 20 item cap on online deliveries and is hiring to increase capacity.
- Deliveroo is now doing basic grocery shopping.