Supermarkets are to use government’s data to track those who are most at risk from coronavirus to help the vulnerable get the food and supplies they will need.
Asda are using a “dedicated team” working with the government and Sainsbury’s will get the data soon and will prioritise slots for those most at risk.
An Asda spokesman said they are “working with government and some of our fellow supermarkets to ensure those people who have been identified as highly vulnerable get what they need and are protected from Covid-19.”
Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “In a seminal address to the nation, the Prime Minister urged everyone to use food delivery services wherever possible; the reality is that current demand vastly exceeds supply.
“I’d actually urge the opposite of the PM, in that, if you are healthy, not in a vulnerable category and adhere to social distancing guidelines, please do shop in store, but make sure you shop responsibly.”
Adding, “That will enhance priority online for those who need it most.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it is “working with the retailers to get them the information they need – in addition to their own data – to help ensure essential items are delivered as soon as possible to the people with medical conditions that make them most vulnerable.”
A spokesman added, “We have also introduced a range of measures to keep food supply flowing and support home deliveries, such as issuing guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up more quickly, and implementing extensions to drivers’ hours.”
All 5,000 recruits will be working by this weekend providing a boost to the supermarkets efforts to keep shelves full of items.