Steps we have taken in response to the Coronavirus outbreak

April 27, 2020

Steps we have taken in response to the Coronavirus outbreak

We want to keep you fully informed of everything we’re doing to protect you and our colleagues in response to the spread of Coronavirus.

We are staying close to the government on the latest information and advice to ensure we are doing the right thing for both you and our colleagues.

How we’re implementing social distancing in our stores to keep you and our colleagues safe

It is vital that we implement measures in our stores which will help keep everyone safe and ensure we all maintain social distancing requirements.

If you visit our stores, you will see colleagues at the doors limiting the number of customers allowed to enter at any one time to help with social distancing. We have installed clear signage and directional floor markings to help you move around our store more easily and maintain a 2-metre distance from other customers and our colleagues. You are allowed to bring your children and other members of your household to our stores if you need to, but wherever possible – try and keep family groups to a minimum and if you can, to one person per trolley, to help us maintain social distancing advice.

There will be regular announcements on Asda radio to remind customers of their responsibility to apply social distancing rules, and to help you do this we are closing every other self-checkout till.

To further minimise contact we’re also asking customers, wherever possible, to only touch items they intend to purchase and to use cashless payment wherever they can. To help with this we’ve also rolled out ‘Scan and Go’ mobile at 581 of our stores, so you can use your own device to scan your Asda shopping and pack as you go. You can download this for yourself from your app store.

Our stores are cleaned thoroughly and regularly to make sure we’re doing all we can to keep colleagues and customers safe when they visit us. We’ve listened to our colleagues who have said they would like to wear masks while at work, to protect both them and our customers. Although current Government and WHO guidelines do not recommend masks for everyday use, we understand our colleagues’ concerns and we will be providing masks to those who want to wear them.

Our colleagues are working extremely hard and under huge pressure, and we are immensely grateful to them. We’re making every effort to protect our colleagues and their health, and are providing additional hand sanitiser, installed Perspex screens at all of our checkouts and gloves for Checkout and Home Delivery colleagues, as well as increasing opportunities for everyone to step away from the shop floor and wash their hands.

You may have seen reports that front line workers have been invited to access COVID-19 key worker testing, and we’re pleased that our colleagues will be part of this programme.

All of the measures we're taking in our stores to help customers and colleagues follow social distancing guidelines can be found here.

Store times and ‘special access hours’

Some of our store opening hours have changed so that they are now open until 10pm, to help those who work shifts to get what they need. You can check your local store opening times on the Store Locator.

We are incredibly proud of our NHS workers across the country and those in the care sector, which is why we continue to give them priority for the first hour of every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and exclusively on Sunday mornings, so they can quickly get the essentials they need between 9am and 10am before our stores open. All we ask is that you bring ID or have your registration number to hand. We want to make sure these vital workers get what they need, so please avoid shopping at these times to help NHS workers and those in the care sector access our stores.

How we’re working to deliver online shopping and protect the vulnerable

Demand for online shopping is still high and we’re working really hard to make as many shopping slots available as we possibly can to help those that need to stay at home. We have increased the number of delivery slots we have available to over 700,000 per week, up from our normal 450,000 and we want to ensure that these are going to those who are most in need. To help us get more vans out delivering to homes, we’ve also introduced 48 electric vehicles across our estate to run orders from our shops to Click and Collect points.

We are working with the UK Government to serve some of the extremely vulnerable people they have identified and, so far, have written to 250,000 customers to offer them first access to delivery slots, ensuring they get what they need while they stay safe at home. They also benefit from free delivery when placing an order and the opportunity to book a weekly recurring slot. We will continue to work with the UK Government to understand how Asda and other retailers can support those identified as extremely vulnerable, including similar programmes for customers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

How we’re looking after our colleagues

We want to support our colleagues who are self-isolating or have been identified by the Government as needing to isolate themselves for 12 weeks, and have ensured these colleagues receive full pay for their isolation period. This includes colleagues over the age of 70, or those who are pregnant and classed as vulnerable, as well as the carers of extremely vulnerable people. You can read more about this here.

As a thank you to our colleagues who do not need to self-isolate we will give them an additional week's pay in June, in recognition of their extra efforts that have protected the health of their colleagues who need to step away during this time.

How we’re looking after our communities

We will be offering thousands of small care homes priority access to online delivery slots for the next six months, to help these customers get the essentials they need for their residents. We have contacted 3,600 small care homes who are already registered with Asda to offer them a ‘priority’ delivery pass, giving them early visibility of available slots and the opportunity to book a recurring delivery slot if they would like to. We are also providing additional support for care homes by donating 250,000 medical grade face masks to help protect workers and residents.

We have donated £5 million to our partners at FareShare and the Trussell Trust to help the country’s most vulnerable people. This funding is already helping FareShare get vans on the road and supporting 336,000 families who need it most every week, through support for 3,000 charities who are able to give these vulnerable families access the essentials they need in lockdown.

In store donation trollies have also provided enough food for 140,000 meals – and we thank our customers for their ongoing generosity to others during this time.

We continue to look for ways we can help those most in need and have launched a ‘volunteer shopping card’ to provide a contact-free way to allow others to collect and pay for your weekly shop, without risking handing over a debit card or using cash. To date, over 110,000 have already been used in our stores. You can learn more about how it works and what to do here.

And for those who aren't able to easily shop for others in our stores, we have launched a 31 item ‘food box’ service to help further support vulnerable customers.

How we’re looking after our suppliers

As well as the communities around our stores, we’re also working to support our wider community of suppliers through the impacts of COVID-19. Whether its paying our small suppliers immediately, working to support British farmers and growers on managing changes in demand, or maintaining our commitments to over 95% of our George orders, we’re committed to helping businesses continue to operate in these unprecedented times.

Pharmacy & Optical Services

This month we launched a prescription delivery service for our extremely vulnerable customers across our 255 in-store pharmacies, to allow our colleagues to bring essential medication directly to customers’ homes. Those who have a regular discussion with one of our pharmacists about a particular health issue will soon be able to access this service over the phone and can call their pharmacist for a discussion, before collecting a prescription if necessary. For those who are able to get to one of our stores, we will also be launching a ‘Call and Collect’ service. Pharmacy customers can call ahead, order their prescription, and then collect their medication without coming into store.

For those who need essential or urgent optical care, our opticians continue to offer this in over 150 optical departments across our stores.

We would like to remind all of our customers that due to the hard work of our colleagues, our stores are stocked up again throughout the day – so everyone can get the groceries they need at any time as long as they shop responsibly.

We've outlined a wide range of measures to support our colleagues and suppliers who have been affected by Coronavirus. Read more about what we're doing to support those affected here.

Read a message from our CEO Roger Burnley here.