The impact of COVID-19 on our care system has been the subject of numerous news reports in recent days, and the challenges facing our nation’s care homes and the staff who are working so hard to protect some of our most vulnerable people have been heart-breaking to see.
At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic I made an assurance that we would do whatever we could to play our role in feeding the nation, and to support the customers and communities we serve.
That’s why I want to let you know that, this morning, we have emailed 3,500 small care homes currently registered with Asda to let them know that we are giving them a priority pass for online shopping with us, to help them get the food and essentials they need for their residents. This pass will mean they get early visibility of online slots, which will help them to book a regular delivery for their residents, and take one thing off their list of concerns during these challenging times.
Giving priority access to these amazing care homes is, I believe, the right thing for us to do – and I am proud, that having built the capacity of our online delivery service in recent weeks from 450,000 slots to 700,000 weekly slots, we are able to do this for our care homes, as well as support over 130,000 extremely vulnerable people with home deliveries through the work we have done with Government and the ‘shielded’ data they have provided to us.
In addition to providing priority access to our care home customers, we are also donating 250,000 medical grade face masks to care homes, to help them keep their residents and workers safe. These masks will be distributed in the middle of May by our community champions directly to care homes – and we hope they provide some additional resources to help keep our care homes safe.
And for all the nation’s amazing care home workers who are working so hard to look after our elderly and vulnerable, we continue to welcome you to our stores for priority access on Monday, Wednesday and Friday before 9am and in an exclusive browsing hour every Sunday before each store opens. I hope that those workers who visited us yesterday morning enjoyed the small token of our appreciation for your efforts and treated yourselves to something.
I take great pride in knowing that Asda customers want us to support our local communities – and hope that you will be proud of us for taking this step to support care homes. I also want you to know that we value all our customers and that every one of my colleagues is working tirelessly to make sure that our shelves are stocked, our stores are clean and safe, and our deliveries are moving, to mean that you can get what you need at Asda. If you are healthy and able to visit one of our stores safely, please do so – as that helps us to keep our online deliveries open to help more people who really do need to be shielded from COVID-19.
Thank you for your continued support – and please, continue to stay safe and look after each other.
Find out more about the steps we're taking in response to the Coronavirus outbreak here.