Sainsbury’s, Asda and Iceland have ditched a major coronavirus measure as part of the lockdown easing.
We’ve slowly grown used to queuing, face masks and perspex screens over the last few months.
Normal food shops seem like a distant memory.
But, as shops open and pubs welcome back customers things are changing once again.
And, three major supermarkets are getting rid of one of their rules.
Asda, Sainsbury’s and Iceland are all scrapping priority shopping hours, reports the Express.
The chains are the first shops to rescind the special slots which catered to the most in-need.
Other supermarket have also extended their opening hours.
Here’s what’s changing across the UK’s supermarkets:
Asda is expending its opening times.
Some shops will now operate from 7am to midnight.
They have also scrapped priority hours for the vulnerable and key workers.
However, NHS and care workers can still skip queues from 8am to 9am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Plus, Sundays from 9am to 10am.
The chain previously offered priority access to the vulnerable for the first hour of the day and the last hour went to NHS staff.
However, this is no longer necessary at some locations.
Iceland said, on its website: “We haven’t cancelled our priority hours for elderly people; these are still offered from 8am-9am in all The Food Warehouse stores, and at the discretion of our Iceland store managers where sufficient local demand exists.
“In some stores the priority period is no longer required as elderly and vulnerable customers have heeded the Government’s advice to stay at home, supplies have normalised and panic buying has subsided.
“This means that stores are better stocked throughout the day and there is no longer any particular advantage to customers in shopping first thing in the morning; they may well prefer to visit during the afternoon, when stores are usually quieter.”
Tesco has begun to extend its opening hours to standard times.
However, priority access will still be given to the elderly or vulnerable on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am to 10am.
NHS workers also have priority hours every Tuesday and Thursday between 9am and 10am.
Plus, browsing hours on Sundays.
NHS, emergency workers and care workers can skip queues if they present valid ID.
Sainsbo’s have confirmed there will no longer be special opening hours for specific groups like the elderly or key workers.
Everyone can now shop whenever they like.
But, they will allow priority access to those groups if there are queues for entry.
NHS workers have priority entry from 7.30 to 8am Monday to Saturday.
The elderly, vulnerable or disabled will have entry from 8am to 9am Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Morrisons have made no changes to their special access hours.
NHS workers can shop from 6am-7am Monday-Saturday.
Plus, half an hour before opening on Sundays.
Aldi’s opening hours have stayed the same.
On its website, the supermarket states: “All day everyday key workers in the NHS, Police and Fire Service will take priority ahead of queues into our stores upon showing a valid ID.
“From Tuesday 14th April, we have extended our priority shopping time for emergency workers which will now include all groups entitled to a Blue Light card.
“This includes all Social Care Workers, First Responders and St John’s Ambulance staff, amongst many others.
“This is in addition to early access on a Sunday, where they can enter stores 30 minutes prior to opening.
“We also open 30 minutes early Monday – Saturday for the Elderly (over 70) and vulnerable.
“Please note, in England and Wales, this is for browsing only.
“In Scotland, purchases can be made during this time.”
Waitrose has kept priority access as normal.
But, some shops are operating with reduced hours.
The website states: “The first opening hour in our supermarkets will be dedicated to our elderly and vulnerable shoppers.
“In addition, to help us keep our shelves stocked and our Partners and customers safe, some shops may close earlier than normal.
“This will vary in different parts of the country, from shop to shop.”
Lidl does not have any special shopping hours for the vulnerable or NHS workers.
The website explained: “Currently we are not implementing shopping hours for the elderly or NHS workers at stores in England, Scotland and Wales but we are continuing to explore all opportunities to best support the most vulnerable in our communities and those that care for them.”