Advice When Shopping for Food and Supplies from the British Retail Consortium (31 March 2020)


  • Social distancing measures: particularly in the most crowded areas such as serving counters and tills. These will include floor markings, signs, lanes and announcements in store. Limitations to the number of people allowed in store at one time, particularly for smaller stores. Queueing measures outside stores that ensure stores are not overcrowded.
  • Protective equipment: use of personal protective equipment by staff and other measures to reduce contact and ensure staff and customer safety.
  • Protected shopping times: for the elderly, vulnerable and essential workers and changes to operating hours in some stores.
  • Getting essentials on the shelves: In order to maximise production of key goods, you may see slightly different brands, or fewer options of one product on the shelves. There are also limits on the number of products you can purchase at any one time.
  • Card payments encouraged: as this reduces the risk of contact (The limit for contactless payments has been raised to £45 to reduce the need for people to enter their pins on card machine keyboards).
  • Handwashing facilities (this may be dependent upon the size and layout of the store).


These measures are designed to minimise the risk to customers and staff. However, we cannot do that alone. We are also encouraging the public to help us to help them and those around them by:

  • Self-isolating at home if you are showing symptoms and remember coughing and sneezing etiquette; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the crook of your elbow (not your hands). Put tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Staying at home unless you are in need of essential supplies or are getting exercise (once a day).
  • Washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Being kind to colleagues in store who are working hard to ensure you have access to the products you need.
  • Socially distancing when you are out, keeping 2 metres apart from others in shops and queues. You should always feel confident to ask others to take a step back.
  • Buying only what you need: shop considerately so that everyone can get access to the goods they need. If we shop responsibly there is enough for everyone.
  • Respecting dedicated shopping hours: these exist to protect vulnerable workers and our hard-working emergency and essential workers.