Asda has unveiled new plans to support customers – particularly those in vulnerable groups – along with the wider community and staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of the 20th March, large stores will be prioritising elderly and vulnerable customers from opening until 9am – asking other customers to leave their shopping until later in the day – to allow those who need essentials to get them while the store is quieter. Additional restrictions on stock will also be put in place with customers only permitted to buy up to three of any product across all food items, toiletries, and cleaning products, to help everyone get what they need.

For staff, the supermarket giant have guaranteed full pay to those who need to isolate due to COVID-19 and will provide full pay for 12 weeks to those who have been identified as being part of a vulnerable group and need to self-isolate.

The temporary closure of non-essential services, such as the rotisserie and pizza counters, along with more limited opening hours of some stores, will also be implemented to allow staff more time to restock the shelves and thoroughly clean.

George Adam MSP

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:

“After praising the quick response of Iceland to this virus outbreak, it is very encouraging to see Asda follow suit and institute measures to protect the most vulnerable in society. While I understand the thinking behind ‘panic buying’, it is important that we try to keep our shopping habits as normal as possible, and think of those who would really struggle if left without.

“Bulk buying may be possible for some but we must also remember those who diligently budget week to week and cannot afford to stock up – along with those who may only be able to get to the shops at certain times or need help to do so. By placing restrictions on the amount of products any one person can buy, Asda are doing their bit to make sure everyone has a chance to get what they need.

“While COVID-19 continues to spread, it is brilliant to see such a large company also thinking of their staff and the implications not working might have on them and their families. Granting full pay during self-isolation periods will be a weight of many peoples’ shoulders and will go a long way in encouraging those who are unwell or at risk to follow the Government advice and stay at home.”