Waitrose introduces new measures to protect customers and staff

Waitrose has today (Tuesday March 24) backed the Government’s plea for social distancing by announcing a set of new measures to help its customers shop safely and to protect its staff.

The new measures include:

– Supermarkets and convenience shops (excluding Welcome Break and Shell shops) will limit the number of customers allowed in at any one time, so that social distancing can be observed. Limits will be specific to each branch based on the number of tills.

-Shop managers will use their judgment on customer numbers and when the shop is at capacity, will manage social distancing by operating a ‘one in, one out’ policy. Waitrose will still dedicate its first opening hour to elderly and vulnerable customers, and those caring for them and NHS staff will continue to be given priority checkout service.

-Two-metre marshals will help to manage queues outside shops and if necessary remind customers to respect the 2 metre social distancing rule. There will be signage and a coned area instructing customers to queue two metres apart outside shops.

– Floor signage will be introduced in all shops to ensure customers keep two metres apart when queueing at checkouts and at Welcome desks. These will read ‘Leave space. Leave Safe. Help us to protect you.’

-Checkout screens have been ordered to protect staff and customers from infected moisture droplets.

-To enable staff working in the shop to maintain social distancing where two checkouts are back to back, one checkout will close.

-Special protective visors are also being ordered and will be available to staff, if they wish. This creates a protective guard that will help create a barrier between the user and the outside environment, stopping infected moisture droplets reaching the user and being absorbed through the mouth, nose or eyes.

-New lift instructions will be introduced stating that only one customer or family should occupy a lift at any one time.

-There will be a drive to encourage more customers to shop in a ‘cashless and contactless’ way to prevent unnecessary contact. Staff will guide customers where possible to use Waitrose Quick Check self-service technology and contactless card payments.
Customers will be encouraged to download and use the QuickCheck App to further minimise contact when shopping, meaning products are handled less; and customers with large baskets will be able to checkout through Waitrose’s fastest Self Checkout channel with minimal contact with others.

Waitrose & Partners is also part of discussions to increase the contactless limit to £45 to help customers make more use of contactless payment

Bérangère Michel, executive director of customer Service at John Lewis Partnership, which owns and operates Waitrose, said: “The health of our Partners [staff] and customers has always been our number one priority and we fully support social distancing.

“While these measures will dramatically change how people shop and interact with others in our stores for the moment, they are absolutely vital to ensure that our customers can shop safely and that our Partners are protected as they go above and beyond to serve shoppers in this time of crisis.”

In Waitrose shops, customers are able to buy three of any specific grocery item, and a maximum of any two packets of toilet roll. Exclusions to this include fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as Easter confectionery, beers, wines, cider and spirits.

John Lewis & Partners operates 338 Waitrose & Partners shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience branches and 27 shops at Welcome Break locations.

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