SAINSBURY'S will hold exclusive shopping hours for their most vulnerable customers three times a week.

The chain have announced that following the trial held last Thursday, all of their supermarkets will now open exclusively for elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers, as well as NHS and Social Care workers, between 8am and 9am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Chief Executive Mike Coupe said that the store would also do their best to ensure that essential items do not run out during these times.

He also said:

  • All stores will now open 8am-8pm Monday to Saturday.
  • "We will try our best to have essential items on shelf" for vulnerable customers during dedicated shopping hours.
  • Arrive throughout the dedicated shopping hours to enable people to keep their distance.
  • All unwell or self-isolating staff will be paid for the full period.
  • Vulnerable or elderly staff will be paid if the government decides they should self-isolate for 12 weeks.
  • Stand one metre from staff members in store.
  • Pay with card rather than cash at tills
  • Treat staff with kindness and respect.

He said: "Last Thursday, we set aside an hour for elderly and vulnerable shoppers in our supermarkets. Many of you have told me how much you appreciated this and that you would like this to become a regular event.

"Some of you also said that we should extend this to members of our hardworking NHS and Social Care workers. And we will be doing just that.

"They will just need to show us their pass or ID when they visit.

"Some of you fed back that you couldn't find what you wanted during that hour, so we will try our best to have essential items on shelf for these customers. We will be working to keep our shelves well stocked and would encourage customers to arrive throughout the hour to prevent queues forming and to help everyone keep a safe distance."

Mr Coupe also added that, from Monday, store opening times would be normalised to 8am-8pm, Monday to Saturday, whilst Sunday times as well as Sainsbury's local and petrol stations will remain the same.

"This means we can focus our store colleagues’ time on keeping shelves stocked and serving our customers well during the times that most of you are already shopping," he added.

"Hundreds of you have written to me to thank our amazing colleagues who are working around the clock to serve our customers.

"A number of you have also shared your concerns for the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues. I want you to know that we are doing all we can to support everyone who works in our business.

"We have committed to paying all colleagues who are unwell or need to self-isolate for the full period of fourteen days. We have also committed to paying vulnerable and elderly colleagues in full if the government decides they should isolate for 12 weeks.

"We hope this will go some way to helping our teams through this uncertain time and we are looking at other ways to thank our colleagues for their extraordinary efforts.

"To keep our colleagues safe, I need to ask again for your help. Please do your best to stand one metre away from colleagues in our stores where you can. And we would prefer you to pay with card rather than cash at our tills.

"Please also treat our colleagues and other customers with kindness and respect. These are unprecedented circumstances and our colleagues are being asked to come to work every day while so many others are being asked to stay at home.

"We all need them to keep coming to work to feed the nation – a small thank you goes a really long way."