In an email to customers, CEO of Asda Roger Burnley outlined the safety measures in stores, and detailed what the company is doing to look after their employees.
It also added that the supermarket chain will ‘respect’ new government guidance which requires all shoppers to wear face masks.
Across England, the wearing of face masks in shops and supermarkets will be compulsory from Friday, July 24 – or could risk a £100 fine.
In Scotland, the law on face masks in all stores came into force on Friday, July 10, with a £60 fine for those who flout the rules.
What safety measures will be in place?
Roger said: “As people gradually return to their pre-Covid routines, we are starting to see more regular shopping patterns, which means stores are easy to access throughout the day.
“However, keeping customers and colleagues safe has been our number one priority throughout lockdown and our commitment to safety remains unchanged as social distancing measures are gradually eased.
“Parts of the UK are also now refining their safety measures to protect our health – be that new social distancing guidelines in England and Northern Ireland, or the compulsory wearing of face coverings in shops in Scotland.
“And as these new changes are implemented, I want to reassure all our customers – no matter where you shop with us – that we will respect the guidelines.”
Mr Burnley added that the company will continue to prioritise safety and hygiene in their stores – with screens, sanitiser spray and increased cleaning of high traffic areas – to give customers additional reassurance.
“Should we need to implement stronger measures in particular areas due to localised ‘lockdowns’ we have the capability to quickly do this.”
‘Continue to pay by card’
Shoppers have been asked to continue playing their part by paying by card when they shop, and also by minimising contact with others in store whenever they can.
Expansion of online shopping
Mr Burnley added: “Through lockdown we’ve expanded our home shopping capacity from 425,000 to 700,000 slots per week.
“We will carry on operating at this capacity for those customers who prefer to shop online but we continue to ask customers who can shop in stores safely to do so, allowing us to use our online services to get food to those who most need it.”
Thanks to staff and communities
“I want to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to our colleagues who have worked tirelessly during the last twelve weeks to serve our customers in challenging and unprecedented circumstances,” Roger continued.
The measures introduced earlier this year, such as Perspex screens and the provision of protective equipment, will remain in place at Asda stores despite the easing of social distancing guidelines.
“We are also grateful to the 22,000 individuals, who joined us on temporary, short-term contracts, at the height of the pandemic to help feed the nation and are proud that we were able to offer them employment at a really difficult and uncertain time.
“We are delighted to welcome back thousands of colleagues who have been shielding for the last 12 weeks.
“To protect them and their families, we offered vulnerable colleagues, and those living with extremely vulnerable people, the option of paid leave.
“We did this without using the Government’s furlough scheme because it was the right thing to do for our colleagues.
“We have always taken pride in being an important part of the communities we serve, and during this period we have taken that responsibility even more seriously.
“Our support has included issuing over 150,000 home delivery passes to extremely vulnerable customers so they could order online, with no delivery charge, to protect them during lockdown.
“We have also provided 160,000 volunteer shopping cards and more than 250,000 medical grade face masks to care homes.
“In addition, we also took direct action to support foodbanks through Covid-19 by donating £5m to FareShare and the Trussell Trust – enabling them to support 3,000 charities and over 300,000 vulnerable families each week during lockdown.
“Whether it’s as colleagues or communities, we have all shown what an impact we can have when we come together and look after each other.
“And whilst I’m sure we all look forward to a time when Covid is no longer such a part of our lives, I for one want to retain that spirit of support and community and assure you that Asda will continue to do the right things for our customers.
“Finally, as we emerge from lockdown, I want to take a moment to recognise the selfless work of the NHS and other key workers, who have done so much to keep us all safe.”