Asda announces 1,000 new Covid marshals

Asda announces 1,000 new Covid marshals to make sure shoppers wear masks when they enter their supermarkets

  • The supermarket chain said new Covid marshals will be outside all their stores
  • They will help enforce the Government’s advice to wear a face covering in shops
  • It comes amid concerns from supermarkets that shoppers are panic buying 

Asda has announced 1,000 new Covid marshals to ensure that shoppers wear masks anytime they enter a store.

The supermarket chain said today that new safety staff will be present at the entrance to every shop and in the aisles of larger stores. 

The safety marshals will help enforce the Government’s advice to wear and face mask and will give sanitised baskets and trolleys to customer as they enter the store. 

Asda said that customers who do not have a face covering when they enter a shop will be offered a pack of disposable masks that they can pay for as they complete their shopping. 

Anthony Hemmerdinger, Chief Operating Officer at Asda, said: ‘We know that safety remains a key priority for our customers and we will continue to do all we can to keep them and our colleagues safe in store, as we have since the start of the pandemic. 

Shoppers wearing face masks enter an Asda supermarket in June this year. Safety marshals will now be present outside every store in the UK 

An employee scans a customer’s purchases through the till at a check-out desk inside an Asda supermarket in Watford

‘These additional measures will make our stores an even safer place to shop and work during the coming months.’

Asda also confirmed that as per the change to Government guidance, all staff will now wear a face covering at work unless they have a medical exemption and they will introduce additional hand sanitisation stations in stores.

And the supermarket group will be applying a protective coating to all basket and trolley handles, creating an antimicrobial surface that prevents the spread of bacteria and viruses. 

The same coating technology (Bio Master X shield) is already used to kill bacteria and viruses in the NHS Nightingale Excel hospital.

It comes as supermarkets have urged shoppers not to panic buy after a surge earlier this week in anticipation of the tighter Covid-19 restrictions that were announced by Boris Johnson yesterday.

Toilet rolls, frozen food and long-life produce was wiped from the shelves in some stores in scenes familiar to March when the nation braced to hunker down at home.

As customers flooded social media with pictures of empty aisles, one shopper declared: ‘It’s happening again.’

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: ‘We urge consumers to be considerate of others and shop as they normally would.’

Shoppers wearing face masks and walking past a banner advising customers to maintain the British government’s current social distancing guidelines

Shoppers were also purchasing bags of pasta, amid warnings of panic buying in recent days 

Shoppers queue at Costco today in Bushey, Watford, and come out with trolleys loaded full of shopping

He played down the presence of panic-buying and paid tribute to the ‘excellent job’ of retailers to provide food during the pandemic.

Reassuring the public, he added: ‘Supply chains are stronger than ever before and we do not anticipate any issues in the availability of food or other goods under any future lockdown.’

But supermarkets are bolstering security at their doors and have doubled the number of delivery slots. 

One supermarket worker in Birmingham told The Mirror: ‘Some people are definitely panic buying again. We have 4,000 more items this weekend than we usually would. 

Shoppers have taken to social media to share photographs of supermarkets with the shelves stripped bare (above, ASDA in London)

‘When the panic buying started months ago, we hadn’t experienced it. We are prepared now.’ 

Another tweeted today: ‘ I just finished my shift at work and witnessed so many customers panic buying again. Please don’t – there is no need for it!’ 

It comes as Morrisons announced it will be reinstating marshals at its doors to limit the number of shoppers coming in and out, while also reminding them to wear face masks.

Tesco’s weekly ordering capacity has risen from 600,000 to 1.5million – but it remains fully booked until Wednesday.

Asda has increased its online delivery slots by 65 per cent – from 450,000 to 700,000.  

There are three-day waiting times for Ocado, while Sainsbury’s is experiencing high demand. 

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