Coronavirus: everything you need to know about shopping during the lockdown

How many times a week can I go food shopping?

“We urge the public to follow the Government’s social distancing advice and only leave the house to pick up essential items or for daily exercise. Food shopping trips should be made as infrequently as possible.”

What safety measures should I take when out shopping?

“Everyone should follow government advice: wash hands frequently with water and soap for 20 seconds or use alcohol hand gel and be aware of safe coughing etiquette. When in a shop, maintain social distancing both inside and outside of premises, pay by contactless if possible and avoid touching items or equipment unnecessarily.”

Are shops entitled to impose limits on how many items people are allowed to buy?

“We want to make sure everyone has access to the essential goods they need. To achieve this, retailers have often needed to introduce limits on certain items to prevent excessive purchases.”

Will there be rationing?

“If we all shop responsibly and only buy what we need, there will be enough for everyone. However, where necessary, limits will be placed on the quantities of certain goods customers can buy to ensure this remains the case.”

Are shops restocking?

“Retailers are working with their suppliers to increase the supply of goods and get products to store as quickly as possible. Our retail colleagues on the ground are working tirelessly to restock shelves to ensure customers can get the goods they need.”

Is it OK to do online shopping or am I putting delivery people in danger?

“Retailers continue to follow the government advice that online retail should remain open for business. Warehouses and online delivery hubs strictly adhere to government guidelines on hygiene and social distancing to ensure the safety of staff and drivers.

“We urge those who can visit food shops to do so, so that online capacity can be prioritised for more vulnerable people who need home delivery.”

Can Covid-19 live on paper and cardboard?

“There are studies that suggest the virus can live on cardboard for 24 hours, however, it can only survive a short amount of time and so poses little risk of being spread via goods. However, it is always best to follow government advice to wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds after handling products.”

If I can’t return something within the 30-day period because of the lockdown will a return after that still be valid?

“Many delivery companies and retailers include return details with the delivery to ensure items can still be collected from a residence and returns made within the legal period.  We urge retailers to exercise greater flexibility at this time, however, it is best to check the returns policy of individual retailers before making a purchase. We encourage you to only purchase products you intend to use and remind everyone that not everything you buy can be returned.”

Is fruit and veg going to run out if pickers can’t work?

“As we move into the peak UK growing season, we are less reliant on imports and supply chains are shorter. Ensuring there are enough workers is a key focus throughout the supply chain, particularly in fruit and vegetables which rely on seasonal labour. Retailers are working with the Government and major UK growers to ensure there is a continued supply of fresh fruit and vegetables in the coming months.”

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