SUPERMARKETS are beginning to ease restrictions in shops as lockdown measures are slowly being lifted on the high street.
Ahead of the government lockdown, retailers were forced to limit the number of items shoppers could buy as panic buying left shelves empty.
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Pasta, toilet roll and anti-bacterial wipes were among the most wanted items as Brits began stockpiling over fears of the pandemic would mean they'd be left without.
More rules were introduced in supermarkets after the Prime Minister forced a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19, while they stayed open for people to buy essentials.
These included, reducing the number of people allowed in store at the same time, one-way systems and rules on how many members of per household can shop at the same time.
While many of the measures are still in place to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus, some of them have been eased.
Here's our guide to all of the rules you still have to follow when grocery shopping at the UK's leading supermarkets:
Aldi is continuing to give NHS, police and fire service workers priority queuing during all opening hours, a policy it introduced at the start of the pandemic back in March.
Since April it has been extended to include all emergency works that hold a Blue Light card, including social care workers, first responders and St John's Ambulance staff.
In Scotland, it's mandatory to wear a face mask when shopping in an Aldi supermarket but in England it is optional.
Here's how to cut the cost of your grocery shop
SAVING on your shop can make a big difference to your wallet. Here are some tips from Hannah Maundrell, editor of Money.co.uk, about how you can cut the cost of your shopping bills:
- Write yourself a list – Only buy items that you need. If it isn’t on your list, don’t put it in the trolley
- Create a budget – Work out a weekly budget for your food shopping
- Never shop hungry – you are far more likely to buy more food if your tummy is rumbling
- Don’t buy pre-chopped veggies or fruit – The extra they’ll charge for chopping can be eye watering
- Use social media – follow your favourite retailers to find out about the latest deals
- Be disloyal – You may want to go to different stores to find the best bargains
- Check the small print – It’s always worth checking the price per kg/lb/litre when comparing offers so you’re making a like for like decision as a bigger box won’t necessarily mean you get more
- Use your loyalty cards – Don’t be afraid to sign up to them all. They all work slightly differently – work out what bonus suits you better and remember to trade in your points for additional rewards
Customers are reminded to social distance in stores, while the number of shoppers allowed in at the same time may be limited at busier times of the day.
The supermarket is encouraging people to pay by card or contactless, although you won't be turned away if you only have cash.
There are currently no limits on the number of groceries each customer can buy but there may be a cap on how many Specialbuy products shoppers can scoop up in one go.
This is to stop them being flogged on eBay for inflated prices.
NHS and care workers still get priority access to stores between 8am and 9am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as 9am until 10am on Sundays.
Asda says that it will impose purchasing limits on certain products if they're in high demand, but currently there are no caps in place.
It is continuing to operate longer opening hours although shoppers may be asked to queue before going into a store if its particularly busy so that people can social distance.
The supermarket is asking that there is just one adult per trolley to reduce the number of customers in the store, and contactless payments have been increased to £45.
Like at Aldi, perspex screens will continue to stay up around staff that work on the checkouts.
During the peak of the pandemic, Iceland limited the number of essential items, such as pasta and toilet paper, to a maximum of two per customers.
But now, as Brits have stopped stockpiling, the supermarket has removed purchasing caps on all products.
Iceland has also scrapped priority hours for elderly shoppers and NHS workers.
Customers are asked to stick to the social distancing markers placed around the stores, as well as if and when they have to queue outside branches.
The supermarket is asking shoppers to pay by card or contactless if possible and use hand sanitiser when in stores.
Lidl has put in a traffic light system in place to help customers know when is the quietest time to shop as well as increased the contacless payment amount to £45.
The supermarket has also installed trolley cleaning stations where customers are required to sanitise it before going into the store.
The number of shoppers allowed in stores at the same time is capped, but it varies depending on the size of the store.
Lidl is still offering loose baked items but shoppers will need to put on a pair of plastic gloves and use the tongs before picking out what they want to purchase.
There are currently no limits on the number of groceries shoppers can buy at one time.
Morrisons has lifted all restrictions on the number of goods you can buy in relation to the pandemic.
There may be legal limits on products, such as no more than two packs of paracetamol tablets, or items that are currently being sold as part of a promotion.
Most stores will continue to operate longer opening hours – from 7am until 10pm Monday to Saturday and 9:30am until 4pm on Sunday.
The supermarket doesn't run a dedicated shopping time for elderly and vulnerable customers but does run a doorstep delivery service that gives them priority for their groceries.
NHS workers will get priority access to the supermarket from 6am until 7am Monday to Saturday and 9am until 9:30am on Sundays.
Morrisons is operating a one person per trolley policy as well as limits the number of shoppers allowed in the store at one time.
It also operates a speedy shopper queue to customers can pop in and out if they're buying fewer products.
Sainsbury's told The Sun that it has lifted all buying restrictions except for painkillers, whichare legally restricted to two packets per person.
The supermarket CEO Simon Roberts said: "Very early on in the pandemic, we decided to restrict the number of products people could buy to help products stay on shelf for longer.
"We have kept this under review as availability of key items has improved and I am pleased to tell you that we have now lifted buying restrictions on all products."
All customers can shop at any time of the day although elderly and vulnerable customers will be given priority access between 8am and 9am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The supermarket is encouraging just one shopper per household – children are welcome if it's not possible to leave them at home.
Customers should expect to queue outside stores before being let inside and have to follow social distancing while they shop.
Last week, Tesco scrapped its one-way system and increased the number of people allowed inside stores – although exactly how many varies by branch.
There's still a cap on the amount of items each shopper can purchase, but it's increased from 80 products to 95.
There's also a three per customer limit on face masks when shopping in store and online.
Meanwhile online customers are limited to three of each on antibacterial hand gel, antibacterial wipes, flour and boxes of eggs.
Customers are asked to use hand sanitiser stations placed around the store and in some stores there will be separate doors for customers leaving and entering the branch.
The supermarket has asked only one customers per household to shop at one time, although children are welcome if they can't be left at home.
If possible, paying by cash should be avoided but you won't be turned away if you can't pay by card.
Elderly and vulnerable shoppers still get priority access on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9am until 10am.
NHS workers can skip the queues at any time of the day if they show staff a valid ID.
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