31st March 2020
As you know our country is experiencing an outbreak of the Coronavirus – COVID19. This has meant our elderly and most vulnerable members of our communities are being asked to remain indoors to keep them safe during this time. Sainsbury's has been working with the government to ensure we are “Feeding the nation” and of course making sure we are providing as much support to the most vulnerable has been at the heart of everything we are doing.
We wanted to provide you with as much information as we could so you can choose the best course of action to take to ensure you are able to get those much-needed items during this time.
Following feedback from our customers every Monday, Wednesday and Friday our supermarkets will dedicate 08.00-09.00 to serving elderly customers, disabled customers and carers.
We are aware some of our elderly or vulnerable customers are struggling to book online delivery slots. We are doing our absolute best to offer online delivery slots to elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers. These customers have priority over all slots. Our customer Careline has been inundated with requests from elderly and vulnerable customers – we have had one year's worth of contacts in two weeks.
We have proactively contacted 270,000 customers who had already given us information that meant we could identify them as being in these groups. Our customer Careline is working at full capacity to help other customers within these groups and we can give an additional 8,000 customers a day access to delivery slots over the phone. We have already booked in slots for 115,000 elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers last week and this number is growing every day. We are also working as quickly as possible on an option for people to register themselves as disabled and vulnerable on their online shopping accounts.
If you live in England and you’re extremely vulnerable, you can get access to priority home delivery by visiting GOV.UK and searching Coronavirus extremely vulnerable.
If you live in England and you are over 70 years of age:
You can get access to priority home delivery slots by calling us on 0800 953 4988
If you live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and you are vulnerable or over 70 years of age:
We’re working hard to gather details of elderly and vulnerable people living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If this applies to you, please call us on 0800 953 4988.
We will receive the government database this week which tells us which people in England the government considers to be most vulnerable. Where these people are already registered with us, we will start to write to them next week to offer them a delivery slot. We are also working hard to secure details for vulnerable people living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In addition to the above we've launched over 100 additional Click & Collect stores, where Online vans will be set up in the car parks and customers can collect from there without entering the stores.
Please look out for updates on the veteran website https://www.sainsburysveterans.co.uk/
We have started to limit the number of people allowed in our stores and at our ATMs at any one time. We have also put queuing systems in place outside stores and will ask everyone to please queue at a safe distance of 2 metres apart. Since we put limits on the number of items people could buy, food and other essential items are on shelves for longer each day. We are reminding people in stores to keep a safe distance from other customers and from our colleagues. Customers buying petrol are being asked to pay at the pump where they can.
We are reducing the number of checkouts we open in supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol filling stations to help our colleagues and customers keep a safe distance from each other. We are also introducing safety screens at every manned checkout to help keep our colleagues safe when serving customers. We are regularly sanitising all customer areas of our stores including chip and pin machines, baskets and trolleys.
Please pay by card at the till if you can. If you are unable to pay by card and want to pay by cash, please use our self-scan tills which will stay open for cash payments. Many customers are now using our SmartShop app on their own devices when shopping in our stores. This means you can scan your own shopping as you go around the store, put food and other essential items straight into your own bags and pay for your groceries at a special till before leaving. Which means less interaction with other customers and colleagues and less time queuing to pay.
Just so you know we really are doing our best to manage a very difficult situation. Demand for online grocery delivery is higher now than it has ever been. We are working hard to increase our online capacity and we are adding more slots in every day. But it is not possible for us to create enough slots to meet the current level of demand.
We are seeing communities come together to work on this issue. We know that many people who can come into a store to shop are also shopping for others who can't access food online or get to a shop. We want to encourage and support this. If everyone who shops in store also shops for a person who is less able, it will go a long way towards getting food to everyone who needs it.
On a final note if you're part of our Veteran Visit scheme, you and your visitor should follow the Government guidelines where it is strongly advised that you stay at home and avoid any face-to-face contact. Every person in the UK must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on Monday 23rd March. Try to organise phone or video calls to keep in touch instead.
I hope all the information in this letter proves to be useful to you and helps you to determine the best way for you to shop and remain fit and healthy at the same time.
HR Support Services Manager