Families may be banned from doing their food shopping together, as part of new plans to curb the spread of COVID 19.
Under tougher plans reportedly being considered by ministers, supermarkets could be encouraged to implement a shop alone strategy amid concerns that trips to the local store are being seen as a family outing.
Supermarket bosses may be required to install more hand sanitising stations, rather than just at the entrance, along with more transparent social distancing signs to stop trolley jams in the aisles.
Current Government guidelines state that people may leave home to shop for necessities, for you or a vulnerable person but it doesn’t define a limit on the number of people you can shop with.
A senior Whitehall source told a news outlet that they were looking at ways to make supermarkets as safe as possible for both customers and the people who serve there.
The source said that it was clear that some customers see the visit as a bit of an excursion. The entire family goes together and they end up chatting to friends who they bump into while there, and that often, there’s no reason why one family member can’t do that shopping.
The minister added that people should only visit supermarkets to purchase essential things and they shouldn’t be going in groups, as frequently lengthy shopping queues appear outside megastores.
All supermarkets could also be forced to ban shoppers who don’t wear a face mask and don’t have a medical exemption.
Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Aldi and M&S have already made face masks mandatory in their shops and warned security will be on hand to implement the rule.
Meanwhile, in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford declared new measures for supermarkets due to significant evidence that coronavirus is spreading among customers and workers.
Other ministers are said to be pushing back on more stringent rules in English supermarkets as workers are already tasked with enforcing the rules, with some complaining they’ve experienced abuse from customers refusing to obey them.
One worker from a superstore in Leeds said that most come shopping with two or three members of the family, many without masks and that they’ve even had some customers go into the store recently to say they don’t want shopping and have just come out for a chat.
He added that as a staff member it was disturbing to see people thinking they’re above the rules and be so blatantly blase about it, but when you see an elderly person on their own with a mask on saying they’re frightened to be there, that was what bothered him.
Understandably, single parents have to go out with their children, but it’s not understandable why the whole family has to go shopping. You don’t need two adults and multiple children to go shopping and groups who have clearly and vocally agreed to meet up in the supermarket hugging.
The problem is, now we live in a world of paranoia and everything is mega unhealthy.
And if a single parent is out with their children because there’s no one to watch over them, this can’t be avoided.
My current experience is that I’ve never seen the supermarket so quiet, nor much evidence of family members all shopping together. One suggestion is that perhaps more checkouts could be open so allowing people to get through faster because the only crowd or queue I’ve encountered is the checkout, that’s where people congregate.