Getting essential groceries during Coronavirus

We have been chatting to carers, and from our own personal experience we know that carers were concerned about accessing essential groceries whilst minimising risk of infection during the Coronavirus outbreak.

So here, we share some tips and advice from other carers as well as the latest updates from supermarkets. The picture is changing daily so we will keep this blog updated.

Online Shopping

For some, online shopping seems like a sensible solution but online slots have disappeared quickly. Many supermarkets are promising protected online slots for vulnerable people. Here are the latest updates:

  • Sainsbury’s - have emailed customers that they know are vulnerable - either because of their date of birth or if they have used the vulnerable customer helpline before. They are working as quickly as possible on an option for people to register themselves as disabled and vulnerable on their online shopping accounts. Elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers should get in touch on 0800 328 1700 to be placed on the priority list (22nd March 2020)

  • Morrisons - setting up a telephone helpline - wait for further announcements (19th March 2020)

  • Iceland - Delivery service is only available for those over the state pension age, the vulnerable and those who are self-isolating - you are asked to declare this when you place an order.

Special Shopping Hours

Many supermarkets are offering protected shopping hours for vulnerable customers. It is not always clear how we can identify as being in need. It appears that it is currently being done on trust:

  • Sainsburys - Monday, Wednesday and Friday, all supermarkets will dedicate 08.00-09.00 to serving elderly customers, disabled customers and carers

  • Tesco - “To ensure our more vulnerable and elderly customers can shop in-store, we will prioritise one hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning between 9-10am (except in our Express stores) and ask that you respect this.” (18th March 2020)

  • Co-op - All stores have a dedicated shopping hour for those at higher risk but this varies locally

  • Waitrose - First hour each day dedicated to elderly and vulnerable shoppers, as well as those who look after them

Local independent shops and regional chains

Some people have telephoned local independent shops and been able to arrange for groceries to be set aside for them and either collected by a neighbour or in some cases delivered by the shop themselves or taxi drivers who are volunteering their time. Our local butcher has an outdoor queue system, as does the chemist.

Local restaurants

Some local restaurants have established takeaway or delivery services. There may be a local facebook group with details. It is not clear how long they will be able to continue to operate in this way.

“Meals on Wheels” style services

These will vary locally but here are a few to explore:

Wiltshire Farm Foods - currently only accepting orders from existing customers

Apetito Hot Meals

Oakhouse Foods

There is a lot going on behind the scenes to increase capacity, get food into stores and look after vulnerable customers. It is normal for these things to take a while to impact customers.

Food banks are still operating and receiving further support from supermarkets.

Always check with a local food bank before visiting - most require us to have been given a voucher but these are generally easily issued by social workers, councils, schools and even local churches.