As we enter our third week of national lockdown, our lives are slowly adjusting to circumstances that were unthinkable just a month or two ago. There’s no doubt that this is a very difficult time for everyone.
As I’ve done in recent weeks, I wanted to write and update you on the measures we’ve taken in the last 7 days – measures that build on the many changes we’ve made since the outbreak of COVID-19. As our stores and our service start to return to normal, I also wanted to share some information on what we’re doing to support others who may benefit from our help.
You can find a full update on all these measures at tescoplc.com.
Food for all
- Last Thursday, we were given an initial list of 110,000 clinically vulnerable and isolated people by the Government. From this list, we were able to match 75,000 existing customers – and we’ve already let them know we’re making home delivery slots available to them immediately. We’ll continue to work through this list, and, as we receive more data from the Government, we’ll make even more slots available.
- We’ve increased our online delivery slots by 145,000 (+20%) in the last 2 weeks, with thousands more becoming available every day. We know it’s still difficult to get an online delivery slot due to high demand, so we ask those who are able to safely come to stores to do so. This will help free up more slots for the more vulnerable – so please think before you click.
- As our stock levels start to return to normal, we’re removing the purchasing limits on the majority of products in our stores. We’ve kept limits on some essential lines such as toilet roll, pasta and hand sanitisers until our shelves are fully stocked again. But we’d still ask you to buy only what you need.
- Many care homes have contacted us, asking to buy provisions for their guests. Booker, our wholesale business, is doing its very best to help these customers.
Safety for everyone
- As well as the measures we shared with you previously, we’re introducing one-way aisles and a ‘one-in, one-out’ system in stores. We’ve maintained longer opening hours to minimise potential queuing. Do ask your local store team for the quiet times!
- We have also now installed protective screens at the front and the back of every till at the checkout, so that we can open all of them and reduce the time you need to queue.
- We understand customers are shopping less frequently and therefore need to spend a little more each time. The limit on contactless payments – which is quicker and safer for everyone – will start moving from £30 to £45 per shop. We ask for your patience while we gradually update our tills. You can also use the free Tesco Pay+ app from Tesco Bank. The app has bank-level security built in and lets you pay for up to £250 worth of shopping with a single contactless scan directly from your phone.
Supporting our colleagues
- We’ve already confirmed that we’ll pay our vulnerable, pregnant and self-isolating colleagues from day one. We also introduced a 10% bonus for colleagues in stores, distribution centres and our call centre.
- From today, all our colleagues will get a 15% discount on all their Tesco shopping for the next four weeks as a further token of our appreciation.
- We’ve also recruited 45,000 temporary colleagues to support our stores and distribution centres, given the number of colleagues who can’t work due to COVID-19.
Supporting our communities
- Yesterday we confirmed that we’re the retail partner of SalutetheNHS.org which will provide one million free meal parcels to frontline NHS workers. We’ll donate all the food and ingredients used in the production of these food parcels.
- Also yesterday, we began work on our first dedicated NHS Nightingale Hospital pop-up store, at the NEC in Birmingham. We’ll provide NHS staff with on-site 24-hour access to the food and household products they need. Construction at the NEC started on Sunday and we aim to be open by the end of next week – so it’s all hands on deck. We’re in late-stage discussions with other Nightingale sites, and hope that this is the first of several pop-up Tesco stores that will help the NHS staff in those hospitals.
We sincerely hope these measures, taken alongside everything else we’ve done in the last few weeks, mean we’re able to give our colleagues and customers access to the essentials they need, in a safe environment. We also hope that, by using our skills and resources, we can make a real difference to supporting communities, and particularly those in need or on the front line.
I wanted to end this week’s update with a word of thanks. Firstly, thank you for your support and understanding as we have rolled out the measures outlined above; we can’t make these changes work without your help. Secondly, a word of thanks on behalf of my colleagues. I have heard countless stories of customers offering appreciation to our store colleagues who have been working in difficult conditions over the last few weeks. This means a lot to us.
I join you in thanking all our colleagues, and everyone else – NHS workers, other food retailers, suppliers and other frontline workers: thank you all for your service.
Together, we can do this.
Another week has passed and the situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to change and we all begin to adjust to the ‘new normal’ way of life. In my last email, I shared with you what we’re doing at Asda to protect you and our colleagues, including the new social distancing measures that we now have in place in our stores. I’d like to thank all of you for quickly adapting to the new rules, to help keep our stores safe for all.
Today I wanted to provide a further update of the work we’ve been doing to help vulnerable customers who can’t get out to our stores and reassure you all about the supply and availability of our essential products.
VOLUNTEER SHOPPING CARD
This week we proudly launched a dedicated volunteer shopping card to help the many people self-isolating and unable to go out to buy their shopping. With the support of millions of amazing volunteers, we’ll be able to make sure these vulnerable customers have access to their shopping essentials. Customers can buy these shopping cards online, top up and give to their family member, friend, or NHS volunteer to pay for their shopping without the hassle of using cash or bank cards. This also promotes a contactless way of shopping, essential for reducing risk to our self-isolating customers. These volunteer shopping cards can be bought at asda.com/volunteercard
PROTECTING THE MOST VULNERABLE
The UK Government has identified over a million people in England who have conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) and have advised them to self-isolate for 12 weeks to protect themselves. We have been working closely with the DEFRA and some of our fellow supermarkets for the last couple of weeks to understand how to ensure essentials reach those with no support network. Once we’ve received the information from the UK Government, we will email these customers to offer first access to delivery slots, ensuring they get what they need while they stay safe at home. We’re also working on similar programmes for customers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
We have been working around the clock to expand our home shopping operations to make as many slots as possible available to our customers. In the last two weeks alone, we have increased the number of slots we have available by over 300,000, and continue to add more. However, the demand for delivery is still very high and we recognise that not everyone will be able to get a slot.
We want to ensure that the 700,000 deliveries we make every week are going to those who are most in need and who shouldn’t be leaving their house. That’s why I would ask that where possible, if you are able to go to one of our shops, to please do so. Whilst we are all being urged to stay at home as much as possible, the Government guidelines do not restrict you from travelling to a supermarket to buy what you – or others - need. Shopping in store safely and responsibly means that we have more availability online to deliver directly to those most vulnerable.
SHOPPING IN STORES
For our customers who can get out to one of our stores, I would like to reassure you that we have put extensive measures in place to ensure they are safe for you to shop, including:
- Extra colleagues at the front of our stores, to ensure safe numbers in store at all times
- Our new barriers and signage will help guide you in and throughout our shops
- Signs and distance floor-markers are there to remind you to keep 2 metres from others
- Perspex screens are being fitted at checkouts
- We’re using extra cleaning materials in our stores more often, especially in our busier walkways
- Our cleaning stations at the front of stores are replenished to make it easier to sanitise trolleys and baskets before and after use
‘CONTACT FREE’ PAYMENT WITH SCAN AND GO MOBILE
Additionally, we would urge customers to continue to keep in mind ways they can reduce contact in stores to make their shopping experience as quick and efficient as they can. Don’t forget that from this week, the contactless limit on card payments has increased to £45 and I would ask you to use this and go cashless wherever you can to reduce the spread of the virus. We also offer Scan and Go mobile in 358 stores, so you can scan and pay for items using your own device – speeding up your shop and reducing contact even further.
Our store colleagues have also worked incredibly hard to improve supply and replenish our stores. Over the last two weeks we’ve brought in 50 million core essentials into the supply chain for our customers. Our stores are well stocked throughout the day and there is no need to rush to stores early in the morning if you don’t have to. We have now been able to lift restrictions on the majority of our products, as we now know many customers are buying for others – but we do ask that you continue to shop responsibly. We also continue to offer our Pharmacy service in store, meaning you are able to access both your groceries and any medication you require in one visit. This week we have been able to extend the opening times in some of our stores – you can check your local store locator page here.
In this constantly developing situation, I won’t pretend we have all the answers – but I do promise that we are doing everything we can to support our customers and our communities. I would like to personally thank you for your continued efforts of keeping to the social distancing measures in our stores and I ask that you continue to keep this up while we help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) together.
Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you for the efforts of our colleagues, who continue to tirelessly provide for our customers day in day out. It really lifts our colleagues’ spirits when you take the time to thank them for their efforts – and we’ve particularly appreciated the fantastic drawings and cards being made for them by some of our younger customers.