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Our latest response to COVID-19: 6 April

As we enter our third week of national lockdown, our lives are slowly adjusting to circumstances that were unthinkable just a month or two ago. There is no doubt that this is a very difficult time for everyone.

As we’ve done in recent weeks, I wanted to write and update you on the measures we have taken in the last 7 days which build on the many changes we’ve made since the outbreak of Covid-19.  As our stores and our service returns to normal I also wanted to share some information on what we are trying to do to support others that may benefit from our help.

Food for all

  • Last Thursday, we were given an initial list of 110,000 clinically vulnerable and isolated people by the Government. From this list, we were able to match 75,000 existing customers and we’ve already let them know we’re making home delivery slots immediately availableto them. We’ll continue to work through this list, and as we receive more data from Government, we’ll make even more slots available.

  • We have increased our online delivery slots by 145,000 (+20%) in the last two weeks with thousands more becoming available every day. We know it’s still difficult to get an online delivery slot due to high demand, so we ask those who are able to safely come to stores to do so, to free up more slots for the more vulnerable.
  • As our stock levels are returning to normal, we’re removing the purchasing limits on the majority of products in our stores. We’ve kept limits on some essential lines such as toilet roll, pasta or hand sanitisers until our shelves are fully stocked up again. We would remind everyone to buy only what they need.

  • We have been contacted by many Care Homes asking to buy provisions for their guests. Booker, our wholesale business, is doing its very best to assist these customers.

Safety for everyone

  • In addition to the measures we shared with you previously, we are introducing one-way aisles and a ‘one-in, one-out’ system in stores. We have maintained longer opening hours to minimize potential queuing. Do ask your local store team for the quiet times!
  • We have also now installed protective screens at the front and the back, around every checkout, so that we can open all of them and reduce the time you need to queue.
  • We understand customers are shopping less frequently and therefore need to spend a little more each time they do. The limit on contactless payments, quicker and safer for all, will start moving from £30 to £45 per shop. We ask for your patience while we gradually update our tills. You can also use the free Tesco Pay+ app from Tesco Bank, which has bank-level security built-in and lets you pay for up to £250 of your shopping with a single contactless scan.

Supporting our colleagues

  • We have already confirmed that we will pay our vulnerable, pregnant and self-isolating colleagues from day one and we have introduced a 10% bonus for colleagues in stores, distribution centres and our call centre.

  • From yesterday, all our colleagues will get a 15% discount on all their Tesco shopping for the next four weeks as a further token of our appreciation.

  • We have also recruited 45,000 temporary colleagues to support our stores and distribution centres, given the number of colleagues who cannot work due to Covid-19.

Supporting our communities

  • Yesterday we confirmed we are the retail partner of SalutetheNHS.org which will provide one million free meal parcels to front line NHS workers. Tesco will donate all the food and ingredients used in the production of these food parcels.
  • Also yesterday we began work on our first dedicated NHS Nightingale Hospital pop-up store, at the NEC in Birmingham. We will provide NHS staff with on-site 24 hour access to the food and household products they need. Construction at the NEC started on Sunday and we aim to be open by the end of next week – so it’s all hands on deck. We’re in late stage discussions with other Nightingale sites and hope that this is the first of several pop-up Tesco stores to help NHS staff access the essentials they need, as quickly and conveniently as possible.

We sincerely hope these measures, taken alongside everything else we have done in the last few weeks, mean we’re able to give our colleagues and customers access to the essentials they need, in a safe environment. We also hope that by using our skills and resources, we can make a real difference to supporting communities, and particularly those in need or on the front line.

I wanted to end this week’s update with a word of thanks. Firstly, thank you for your support and understanding as we have rolled out the measures outlined above – we can’t make this changes work without your help. Secondly, a word of thanks on behalf of my colleagues. I have heard countless stories of customers offering appreciation to our store colleagues who have been working in difficult conditions over the last few weeks. This means a lot to us.

I join you in thanking all our colleagues, and everyone else – to NHS workers, other food retailers, suppliers and other front line workers – thank you for your service.

Together, we can do this.

Dave Lewis

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