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 message, 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. The data we’ve received from the UK Government has allowed us to email our 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 our front doors, to ensure safe customer numbers in stores at all times
- New barriers and signs to help guide you in and throughout our shops
- Floor-markers 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
- Cleaning stations at the front of stores 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 opening hours
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 for our customers. Our shelves are now well stocked through the whole day and there is no need to rush to your local 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.
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.
Find out more about the steps we're taking in response to the Coronavirus outbreak here.