How social distancing are the buyers of Asda, Sainsbury, Morrisons and Tesco in fact?


At this point in the year, we’ve all got used to the different social distancing measurements that have been taken at our favorite supermarkets. Whether at Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, a trip to the supermarket hasn’t been the same since March.

But following different rules for different supermarkets can be difficult when you’re not on or distracted.

To find out how well each supermarket giant was advertising their rules and how many of their customers were following them, we visited each one on a busy Monday morning.

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Overall, people followed the rules.

But of course there were a few exceptions.


Asda customers were responsible

My first stop was Canterbury’s Asda, arguably the city’s flagship supermarket.

Earlier this year, the supermarket announced it would employ 1,000 security guards at the front of every store across the country to help with compliance.

When I visited, the security guards were there, looking at potential customers like the bio-bouncers they are.

This is of course welcome – when it comes to coronavirus, it pays to be vigilant.

In-store, customers stayed separate and used the separate automatic payment systems with aplomb.

Overall excellent compliance demonstrated by all.


Tesco introduced new COVID traffic light system

In October, Tesco announced a new traffic light system in some of its Kent supermarkets.

The new green and red light system is designed to act the same as traffic lights on UK roads, with green indicating shoppers to enter and red indicating people to wait outside until what someone inside is leaving.

However, when we visited the Canterbury city center branch, the system did not appear to be activated.

The panels were all there, applied very carefully to the automatic doors, but the actual light didn’t seem to work.

The result was that I – and a few other surprised shoppers – pulled up in front of the store telling us that the coast was free and blocked at the same time.

Is it too crowded?

When I ventured inside I was a little restless.

The purpose of such a system is surely to control the number of people in the store at the same time. Since that wasn’t working, did that mean there were now potentially too many in the store?

What would too many people look like? Do I technically have to be here? Am I breaking the rules?

I’m sure all protocols were followed but it definitely left a bitter taste.


Does anyone know how these lines are supposed to work?

At the height of the pandemic earlier this year, it was not uncommon for lines outside Sainsbury’s in Canterbury to stretch across the parking lot.

Fortunately, things have calmed down a bit since then and I was able to slip inside, using the hand sanitizer station at the entrance.

Sainsbury’s decided to try and demarcate areas of social distancing on the floor with duct tape.

I guess the rule of thumb is that customers stay in their place if someone else is in the next place.

However, it was not communicated well to clients and the staff did not seem to apply it, which made me question their interest.

If everyone was sticking to them, no one would come near each other, but their shopping trips would be endless gallop?

Fortunately, most customers have used common sense in keeping a respectful distance.

Good job done by everyone in bizarre circumstances.


Morrisons was well organized

Like other supermarkets, Morrisons has also employed COVID commissioners at its doors as well as separate lanes for large and small stores.

Back in the summer the store used a funnel-shaped checkout queue that stretched around the store which was difficult to use in my opinion.

Fortunately, they’ve now reverted to a more traditional payment system and customers have thanked them by adequately distancing themselves socially.

The COVID commissioners were also doing their job well as the store was busy but not crowded.

Bravo Morrisons.


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