Supermarkets have moved to protect both staff and customers from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, outlining a number of steps to help prevent the spread of the disease.

At Tesco, chief executive, David Lewis, introduced a number of precautionary steps to all stores across the UK, including floor markings in car parks to help maintain safe distances when queuing, limiting the flow of customers coming into stores during peak times and installing protective screens at checkouts.

Tesco has followed Marks & Spencer by introducing a special hour in stores reserved for NHS workers, and the retailer has also prioritised one hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning between 9-10am.

To cope with the increase in demand, Tesco has also introduced a store-wide restriction of 3 items per customer on every product line and removed multi-buy promotions.

Morrisons has put focus into a recruitment drive to help those that have found themselves out of work due to the pandemic. In addition to around 2,500 pickers and drivers to expand home delivery, Morrisons will be recruiting around 1,000 people to work in the company’s distribution centres.

The retailer has also unveiled a to support colleagues who are in financial difficulty as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak we will create a colleague hardship fund. Colleagues will be able to apply for funds if they experience a financial setback and are struggling to make ends meet.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “We expect the days, weeks and months ahead to be very testing and we are determined to do our bit. These measures will support our very hard-working colleagues, enable us to provide more food to more people in their homes and create opportunities for people whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus.”

Chief executive at Sainsbury’s, Mike Coupe, also outlined his stores new policies: “Starting today, we will limit the number of people allowed in our stores and at our ATMs at any one time. We are putting queuing systems in place outside stores and will ask everyone to please queue at a safe distance of 2 metres apart.

“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.

“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.”

Asda has taken steps to help local communities by donating £5 million to FareShare and the Trussell Trust to help the country’s most vulnerable people. This will provide over 4 million meals to families impacted by coronavirus, as well as giving more than 3000 charities the ability to access free food over the next three months.

The will be prioritising NHS workers in larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 9am.

Waitrose has also issued a 5-point plan for customers including limiting numbers into store at any one time, having dedicated marshals at its busier stores, adoption of new cleaning measures including checkout screen protection and is also encouraging cashless and contactless payments.