Supermarkets are given access to a government database to prioritize the delivery of food to elderly and vulnerable buyers who have been ordered to stay at home as part of the government’s response to corona viruses.
With all major grocery stores online being booked weeks in advance, talking to industry leaders and Environment Minister George Eustice on Tuesday made it a top priority to deliver food to the self-insulators.
Supermarket bosses discussed ways to speed up deliveries and prioritize orders for those in need, including working on new ways to expand delivery networks, such as by working with local taxi companies and take away companies.
Sainsbury’s and Waitrose said they would start writing to existing online customers who were also in the government database to offer them a delivery space. Sainsbury’s said it is expected to contact people next week and is also working on ways to secure details for vulnerable people in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Sainsbury’s has already used information from its Nectar loyalty program to prioritize older customers online and proactively contact 270,000 people. There’s also a hotline that buyers at risk can call to get help booking delivery spots. However, buyers told the Guardian that hotline access was difficult due to very high demand.
Sainsbury admitted that its customer support had been flooded with inquiries from older and vulnerable customers, with contacts worth a year in two weeks.
It was said that it had already booked delivery slots for 115,000 older, disabled and vulnerable customers this week.
The retailer also closes about 10 smaller local shops, mainly in places like train stations, to give priority to busier outlets and online stores.
While many supermarkets have scheduled special shopping hours for vulnerable and elderly people, the latest advice to stay at home has increased the need for delivery services.
The government is also working with food service providers Brakes and Bidfood to put together an emergency food package that could deliver the bare minimum to 300,000 of the 1.5 million most vulnerable of 1.5 million people who have been identified as needing government support.
The program, which could start as early as next week, is designed to connect the supply networks of food service companies, which typically supply catering companies and restaurants, with local volunteers and charities.
According to an industry source, the government initially turned to supermarkets to support the program. However, it quickly became apparent that food service companies were able to cope with increased capacity to control the spread of the virus due to lost orders from their regular customers, most of which had to be closed under the government.
Morrisons said it had already delivered 10,000 boxes of essential groceries after testing began this week with a new system that is operated by couriers rather than the Morrisons.com network. The retailer expects production of two £ 30 boxes of essentials to ramp up in the coming week.
Morrisons is also expanding Morrisons.com and fast delivery through Amazon’s Prime Now subscription option, hiring thousands of employees to pick, pack and deliver groceries from 100 more stores next month.
Marks & Spencer launches a takeaway service, Deliveroo, that delivers bread, milk and other key franchise products to BP forecourts.
Tesco has 8,000 new drivers for delivery and said it has already hired 12,500 new employees out of a total of 20,000 required.
Tesco said it would join other supermarkets by installing safety guards for staff, setting safe clearances for queues and creating separate entrances and exits for buyers.
New rules announced on Monday night require retailers to stay open while the main road is closed, such as B. supermarkets, must ensure that there is a distance of 2 meters between customers and employees and that buyers enter in small groups so that the rooms are not overcrowded. The government has also ordered retailers to manage queues outside of their stores.