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Doing your shopping – coronavirus advice

沙巴体育appThere's a lot going on at the moment, but one of the things that's making people anxious is how they will do their shopping. We've put together some information about when, where and how you can get the essentials you need  – and whether you should be going out to do it at all. 

Can I go shopping?

If you’re considered clinically vulnerable – if you’re aged 70 or older or under 70 with an underlying health condition – you should ask friends, family and neighbours to support you with essential supplies such as food and medicine or consider online and telephone delivery options.

沙巴体育appIf this isn’t possible, you can go out for essentials but should make this as infrequent as possible and think about how you can take extra care. You should also make sure to practise social distancing (remaining 2 metres or 3 steps away from others) and wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) when you get back home, as well as follow guidance put in place by individual shops and supermarkets.

沙巴体育appYou may want to consider wearing a face covering if there are shops where social distancing is more difficult. You should also try and avoid busier times, such as the weekend. 

沙巴体育appHowever, shouldn't be going shopping if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You're self-isolating because you or someone in your household or support bubble has coronavirus symptoms.
  • You're self-isolating as you've been advised by the NHS Test and Trace service that you've been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
  • You have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and advised to shield.


NHS England will be writing to all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and the letter you receive will include information on how you can get support for essential supplies. You can find more information here

Where can I go to get supplies?

沙巴体育appFrom 15 June, all shops in England will be able to reopen – not just the essential ones. 

There is specific guidance for shops outlining what they must do to reopen safely for both their staff and customers. This includes restricting the number of people in stores and cleaning regularly. 

Shops should only reopen once they're able to follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. 

The Government have published on what options are available if you can’t leave your home to shop. It includes both online and telephone delivery service options and outlines what different organisations are doing to support you.

What are supermarkets doing to support me?

Several large supermarket chains have introduced measures to support older people to get the supplies they need, such as protected shopping hours and priority delivery slots.

They’re also introducing measures to reduce people stockpiling items such as toilet paper and pasta, restricting the purchase of certain products in high demand and only allowing a certain number of people in the stores at one time.

The government have provided some supermarkets with the list of those who have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and advised to shield. Supermarkets are prioritising delivery slots for these people, and you should check with your local supermarket to see how you can access this support.

Check with your local supermarket to see what they're doing

What if I can't do my shopping?

If you’re not able to go out for essential supplies because you’re self-isolating or shielding and can’t get support from others, you can use the following options for support:

  • Your local Age UK may be able to support you or be aware of local provisions being made in your area. You can find their contact details here by entering your postcode.
  •  have been created in response to the coronavirus and offer help to those in need in the community. Most of these can be accessed via social media such as Facebook or Twitter
  • Your Local Authority may be able to support you or signpost to those who can. You can find your Local Authority .
  • Vulnerable people and frontline health and social care workers can self-refer into the NHS Volunteer Scheme to get support for shopping, medication delivery and check in and chat calls. This includes those who are over 70 with underlying health conditions and all those with particular conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. To self-refer you can call 0808 196 3646 (8am-8pm). For more information and to see whether you are eligible for this support please see .

How do I pay for my shopping if I can’t go out?

UK Finance have lots of information on their website about different ways you can pay for your shopping. Including a tool to find the best option for you. You can find this information .

Here are some top tips to help get the essentials you need:

  • Make a list of the things you need day-to-day, including food, household essentials and medication.
  • There is no need to stockpile. Shops and pharmacies will keep refreshing their supplies and many have introduced measures to reduce stockpiling.
  • A change in routine may mean you find eating and drinking more difficult for tips on eating and drinking well see 
  • It may take longer than usual to receive online deliveries to your home, so plan ahead, particularly if you usually have prescriptions delivered. If you have any concerns about your medication, talk to your pharmacist.
  • If someone claims to be from a recognised organisation, ask to see proof or check with the organisation itself. 
  • If someone you don’t know offers you help with your shopping don’t feel pressured to accept help. If you do accept help never hand-over money, bank details or cards to someone you don’t know offering to help you.
  • If someone offers to do your shopping, ask for a receipt so that you can pay them on their return to cover the costs of the items.


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Last updated: Jun 22 2020

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