Supermarket rules and opening times changes: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Aldi and Waitrose

Major British supermarkets continue to adapt their operations to meet demand and help those most in need during the coronavirus outbreak. Some chains will be using Government data to identify those at risk from COVID-19 in order to help vulnerable people get vital supplies.

Stores have changed opening hours across the UK predominately to allow for restocking and staff shortages.

All supermarkets are limiting the amount of people allowed in store at any one time, with many implementing queuing systems.

Many are also giving NHS staff and the elderly priority at checkouts.

Screens have been installed at checkouts to help prevent transmission of COVID-19.

Almost all supermarkets have announced stories will have clear signage, directional barriers and floor markings to help you move around stores easily and maintain a two-metre distance from other customers and colleagues.


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  • Opening hours have been shortened to 8am to 8pm every day, apart from Sundays when hours are 10am to 4pm and 9am to 6pm in Scotland.
  • Aldi is also opening stores half an hour early on Sundays for essential service workers. You must present ID.


  • Essential shopping list: Full list of essential supermarket items


Opening times have not yet changed, but Waitrose has implemented a prioritised and dedicating the first opening hour for the elderly and most vulnerable.


  • Some stores’ opening hours have changed – check to see if your local store has been affected.
  • Asda will also be temporarily closing its 24-hour stores between 12am and 6am to allow for restocking.


  • A number of stores are now operating at reduced hours due to “operational reasons”, Tesco said on Twitter after photos showed shelves cleared of goods.
  • Some Tesco Extra stores and larger Metro stores have reduced their hours to between 6am and 10pm.
  • The supermarket has also announced that NHS workers will be prioritised in all stores from 9am to 10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • NHS workers will also have preferred access to a browsing hour before checkouts open on Sundays.


  • All supermarkets are now open 8am to 8pm from Monday to Saturday, including those with an Argos store.
  • Sunday opening hours and Sainsbury’s Local and petrol station opening times will stay the same.
  • NHS ID holders have priority Monday to Saturday 7.30am – 8am.
  • Elderly customers, carers and disabled customers have priority Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 9am.

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