Iceland, Lidl and Nationwide open up early for pensioners

Iceland, Lidl and Nationwide open up early for pensioners amid coronavirus lockdown after Boris Johnson urged all over 70s to stay inside during outbreak

  • British stores have opened up early today to allow older shoppers to shop safely
  • Iceland, Lidl and Nationwide Building Society are now offering a ‘silver hour’ 
  • It means only elderly and vulnerable people can use the store during those times
  • Comes as Boris Johnson told over 70s to stay inside amid the Covid-19 outbreak
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

British and Irish supermarkets have opened up early today to allow older customers to shop safely and avoid coronavirus-related panic buying.

Iceland, Lidl and Tesco are offering a ‘silver hour’ for elderly and vulnerable shoppers only, in an attempt to stem the crisis.

The Nationwide Building Society is also set to trial new branch opening times during the coronavirus outbreak, to help the elderly and vulnerable manage their money with a dedicated hour each morning.

It comes as the government urged over-70s to self-isolate for three months after more than 1,500 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed across the UK.

The Northern Irish branch of Iceland opened one hour early today at 8am, reserving the first hour for its elderly customers, after worried shoppers began rushing to grocery stores last week jostling to buy essentials that have flown off shelves. 

Older shoppers, some with family members to help and one carrying a walking stick, queued up next to each other at the Kennedy shopping centre, in West Belfast, before the shutters came up.

‘I thought it was a great thing that they did this morning, it saved the rush and was nice and relaxed,’ said local resident Mary Heaney after buying some groceries.

James McDonnell, who only had to pick up a few items, said he hoped other shops would do the same.

‘There were too many pictures of older folk stalking aisles empty, because everybody was in panic buying. This is a great idea,’ he said.

Iceland told MailOnline that they are allowing their stores to make their own decisions on how best to meet the needs of their local communities, but can’t confirm plans for specific branches at the moment.

A spokeswoman for Iceland said: ‘With many of our Iceland stores located at the heart of communities across the UK, we are encouraging our store managers to dedicate the first two hours of opening on Wednesday morning to the elderly (those of state pension age) and vulnerable people in their community, such as those with disabilities.

‘We are giving them the flexibility to offer this wherever possible, and arrangements will be publicised in the stores that decide to take this action.

‘We commend the action taken by our colleagues in the West Belfast store who have already dedicated an hour of early morning opening for the elderly. We are focused on being able to feed the nation and to support the most in need.’

Nationwide Building Society is also trialling new branch opening times during the coronavirus outbreak so that elderly and vulnerable people can manage their money in a safe environment within a dedicated hour each morning.

From Wednesday March 18, more than 100 branches across the UK will open from 8am, instead of the usual 9am, for people aged 70 and above and those with underlying health conditions.

It means older people can be the first people during the day to use Nationwide’s facilities, benefiting from enhanced cleaning that branches will undergo each evening, and before they open to the wider membership from their usual opening times.

If successful and if there is shown to be a need, Nationwide will consider whether the trial could be extended to more branches across the Society’s 650 branch network.

 

 

British and Irish supermarkets have opened up early today to allow older customers to shop safely and avoid coronavirus-related panic buying. Pictured: Elderly shoppers queue to get into a Belfast Iceland as it opens for pensioners only

Iceland (pictured, a West Belfast store), Lidl and Nationwide Building Society are offering a ‘silver hour’ for elderly and vulnerable shoppers only, in an attempt to stem the crisis

Elderly shoppers enter the branch of Iceland in the Kennedy Centre, Belfast, which has opened an hour early at 8am especially to allow older people the opportunity to shop freely

 

 

People with their shopping as they leave an Iceland store in the Kennedy Centre. The store opened one hour early to allow elderly shoppers to buy food

Elderly shoppers pay for their shopping with the help of their younger relatives at the branch of Iceland in the Kennedy Centre, Belfast

People wait outside an Iceland store in the Kennedy Centre, Belfast, after it announced it would be opening an hour earlier for older customers

An elderly shopper with an oxygen tank and who is wearing gloves, waits for the opening of the Belfast Iceland in the Kennedy Centre

 

 

Satisfied elderly shoppers leave the Iceland in the Kennedy Centre, west Belfast, this morning

James McDonnell, who only had to pick up a few items, said he hoped other shops would do the same. Pictured: Customers talk to helpful staff members at the Iceland store

‘I thought it was a great thing that they did this morning, it saved the rush and was nice and relaxed,’ said local resident Mary Heaney after buying some groceries at the store (pictured)

Older shoppers, some with family members to help and one carrying a walking stick, queued up next to each other at the Kennedy shopping centre, in West Belfast, before the shutters came up

In Ireland, where schools, universities and pubs have been shut, Lidl began implementing priority shopping for the elderly from 9am to 11am every day until further notice across all of its 163 stores.

Promising priority queuing and additional assistance, Lidl asked other customers to respect the measure and plan their shopping trips accordingly as it may not be able to actively monitor compliance.

Tesco will also introduce dedicated time in store three days a week for over 65s and family carer workers from Wednesday.

Because now more than ever, every little helps,’ the retailer said on its Irish Twitter page, tweaking its famous slogan to fit the times. 

Iceland told MailOnline that they are allowing their stores to make their own decisions on how best to meet the needs of their local communities. Pictured, the Kennedy Centre store

Older customers and their friends and relatives, with their shopping inside an Iceland store in the Kennedy Centre

The High Street doors opening up early for pensioners 

Iceland

A Northern Irish branch of Iceland in West Belfast, opened one hour early today at 8am, reserving the first hour for its elderly customers.

Iceland told MailOnline that they are allowing their stores to make their own decisions on how best to meet the needs of their local communities, but can’t confirm plans for specific branches at the moment. 

Nationwide Building Society

From March 18, more than 100 Nationwide Building Society branches across the UK will open from 8am, instead of the usual 9am.

This is to determine whether it is an effective way of providing support to people aged 70 and above and those with underlying health conditions at an uncertain time.

Lidl

In Ireland, German-owned discount chain Lidl has begun implementing priority shopping for the elderly from 9am to 11am every day until further notice across all of its 163 stores.

Tesco

Tesco will also introduce dedicated time in store three days a week for over 65s and family carer workers from Wednesday.

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