Shopping rules: latest restrictions at Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco & more supermarkets explained


Updated on 30 November 2021 | 5 Comments

We round up the latest shopping rules and restrictions being enforced by the major supermarkets during the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we buy things, as all UK supermarkets have implemented shopping rules and restrictions. 

While face mask rules were eased earlier this year in England, they will become mandatory again in shops and public transport from today (30 November) in an attempt to contain the new Omicron variant.

This will bring England back in line with Wales and Scotland, where face masks have remained mandatory since the pandemic began.

Whether you shop at Tesco, Asda, Aldi, Sainsbury’s, or any major supermarket, it's important you understand the requirements before you head out. 

One final point: if you prefer to shop online and are able to secure an online delivery slot at any supermarket and are self-isolating, please make a note in the 'delivery instructions' section when ordering so the driver can respond accordingly.

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Aldi shopping rules

What are Aldi’s opening hours?

Stores are usually open from 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and Sunday opening hours are 10am to 4pm.

It's worth checking the store locator for local opening times. 

Aldi has helpfully revealed the busiest and quietest times to shop, which you can check out below.

The busiest and quietest times to shop at Aldi. (Image: Aldi)

Are there any buying restrictions in place?

There are no buying restrictions at the time of writing but there may be delays for some Specialbuys due to disruption to global shipping. 

What is Aldi’s policy on face masks?

Aldi has confirmed that all customers are required to wear a face mask when visiting stores unless they are medically exempt.

“The safety of our colleagues and customers is our number one priority,” said Giles Hurley, chief executive officer at Aldi UK in an official statement.

“Following the latest Government announcement, wearing a face covering will be mandatory for everyone that shops at Aldi from Tuesday 30 November, except for those who have a medical exemption.”

Any dedicated elderly & vulnerable shopping times at Aldi?

Aldi no longer offers special opening times for the vulnerable and elderly.

Any dedicated shopping times for NHS workers?

The discounter no longer offers special opening times for NHS, police, and fire service workers. 

Any restrictions on shoppers at Aldi?

Yes, there are markers on the floor to encourage everyone to maintain a safe distance and paying by contactless methods is encouraged.

Are contactless card payments up to £100 accepted?

Yes.

What’s the current waiting time for new online deliveries?

You might be able to order some groceries via Aldi’s partnership with Deliveroo (this is limited to certain stores) or you may be able to use Aldi's Click & Collect service.

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Asda shopping rules

Asda shopping restrictions (Image: Shutterstock)

What are Asda’s opening hours?

Asda's opening times are usually 7am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays but opening times can vary, so it’s best to check the store locator.

Are there any buying restrictions in place?

Asda says it will occasionally put purchase limits on certain products that are in high demand but currently don't have any buying limits. 

What is Asda’s policy on face masks?

Asda has confirmed it’ll ask customers to follow the new guidance and wear a mask unless they are exempt.

The supermarket says staff will be around to help if someone forgets their face covering.

Any dedicated elderly & vulnerable shopping times at Asda?

There are no special opening hours for the elderly or vulnerable, but a Volunteer Shopping Card will allow people to buy goods for those who cannot leave the house.

This card doesn’t involve exchanging cash or sharing bank details and can be used for contactless payment.

If you want a calmer shopping environment, Asda runs a ‘quieter hour’ in all its stores. You can find out more about how this works here.

Any dedicated shopping times for NHS workers?

Asda no longer offers dedicated priority hours for NHS workers. 

Any restrictions on shoppers?

Across the store, there are floor markings spaced two metres apart to help encourage social distancing.

Are contactless card payments up to £100 accepted?

Asda has confirmed it is rolling out the new £100 contactless limit and it should be available in all stores over the next couple of weeks.

What’s the current waiting time for new online deliveries?

Asda is currently offering many delivery slots over the next few weeks but it’s worth flagging that availability can vary in different areas.

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Lidl shopping rules

What are Lidl’s opening hours?

Lidl's stores are usually open 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays, but it recommends customers check local opening hours.

Are there any buying restrictions in place?

Lidl doesn’t have any buying restrictions at the time of writing.

What is Lidl’s policy on face masks?

Lidl has confirmed it will continue to follow Government guidance for face coverings, so it’s now mandatory to wear a face mask unless you’re exempt.

Any dedicated elderly & vulnerable shopping times?

There are no dedicated shopping times for the elderly and vulnerable.

Any dedicated shopping times for NHS workers?

There are none at the time of writing.

Any restrictions on shoppers?

Lidl says that customers should be respectful of others who may prefer to continue social distancing and advises people to pay by contactless if they can.

Are contactless card payments up to £100 accepted?

Yes, you can pay for your shopping via contactless for bills of up to £100.

What’s the current waiting time for new online deliveries?

You can’t order grocery products online for delivery – you must go in-store.

Morrisons shopping rules

Morrisons shopping restrictions (Image: Shutterstock)

What are the opening times for Morrisons?

Morrisons stores are usually open from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays. 

It’s worth checking the store locator for local opening times.

Are there any buying restrictions in place?

There have been no reports of buying limits at the time of writing.

What is the policy on face masks?

Morrisons has confirmed they will follow the new Government guidance. So, this means you’ll have to wear a face mask, unless you're exempt.

“We will be following all updated Government guidelines to keep our customers and colleagues safe,” commented a spokesperson for Morrisons.

Any dedicated elderly & vulnerable shopping times?

There are none at the time of writing, but Morrisons does have a Doorstop Delivery service for the elderly and vulnerable.

Morrisons runs a ‘quieter hour’ in all its stores, which may provide a calmer shopping environment for the elderly, disabled or those with young children.

The supermarket also offers sunflower lanyards to those with hidden disabilities, so extra help can be offered.

Any dedicated shopping times for NHS workers?

Morrisons no longer offers NHS workers priority access to its stores.

Any restrictions on shoppers?

Morrisons encourages social distancing and will keep safety measures in-store. 

Are contactless card payments up to £100 accepted?

While the contactless limit has previously been increased to £45, there’s no confirmation it has been hiked to £100. We have contacted Morrisons and will update this article when we get a response.

What’s the current waiting time for new online deliveries?

The availability of Morrisons delivery slots vary by area – some areas might have fewer slots due to high demand.

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Sainsbury’s shopping rules

Sainsbury's shopping rules (Image: Shutterstock)

When are Sainsbury’s stores open?

Most stores are open from 7am to 10pm or even 11pm, Monday to Saturday, while Sunday opening hours are 10am to 4pm. 

It’s worth using the store locator to check the opening hours of your local.

Are there any buying restrictions in place?

There have been no reports of buying restrictions at the time of writing.

What is Sainsbury’s policy on face masks?

Sainsbury’s has confirmed you must now wear a face covering in-store unless you’re exempt.

Any dedicated elderly & vulnerable shopping times at Sainsbury's?

Elderly and vulnerable customers can get a Volunteer Shopping Card so someone can shop on their behalf.

We have asked Sainsbury’s whether it offers priority access to elderly and vulnerable customers and will update this article when we get a response.

Any dedicated shopping times for NHS workers?

We have asked Sainsbury’s whether NHS and social care workers can gain priority access to its stores and will update this article when we have a response.

Any restrictions on shoppers?

If you have to queue, you could use Sainsbury's queuing app for some stores, which was introduced last year – and allows you to virtually queue.

If you don’t have a smartphone, you can be added to a virtual queue by asking a member of staff, who will inform you when you can enter the store. 

Are contactless card payments up to £100 accepted?

According to media reports, the £100 contactless limit is being rolled out at Sainsbury’s stores.

We have contacted Sainsbury’s to confirm this and will update this article when we get a response.

What’s the current waiting time for new online deliveries?

Sainsbury’s accepts new customer registrations for home delivery and Click & Collect slots. It's worth stressing that the availability of online delivery slots may vary depending on where you live.

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Tesco shopping rules

Tesco shopping rules (Image: Shutterstock)

When are Tesco's stores open? 

Most stores close at 10pm or 11pm (except Sundays) but it’s recommended that you check opening times for your local as some may be open later.

Are there any buying restrictions in place?

Yes, there are buying limits on some products, including toilet rolls, flour, and hand sanitiser. If you’re ordering your shopping online, there is a limit of 135 items per order.

What is Tesco's policy on face masks?

Tesco has confirmed that shoppers should wear a face mask in-store unless exempt.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we are continuing to follow Government guidance to ensure the safety of our customers and colleagues,” commented a spokesperson for Tesco.

“From Tuesday 30 November, it is a legal requirement to wear a face covering in our stores unless exempt in line with Government guidance.”

Any dedicated elderly & vulnerable shopping times?

Tesco offers a ‘quieter hour’ between 9am and 10am on Wednesdays and Saturdays. While this is not exclusively for the elderly and vulnerable, it does provide a calmer shopping experience for customers.

Similar to Morrisons, Tesco offers sunflower lanyards to disabled shoppers, so they can get extra help without having to ask.

Any dedicated shopping times for NHS workers?

Those who work for the NHS or emergency services, as well as care workers, no longer get priority access to Tesco stores.

Any restrictions on shoppers?

Tesco has confirmed there will be a limit on the number of people allowed in its stores as the traffic light system is still being used for some of its stores.

Are contactless card payments up to £100 accepted?

Tesco has confirmed the new £100 contactless limit is available in all stores.  

What’s the current waiting time for new online deliveries?

The availability of Tesco home delivery slots may be limited, but availability can vary in different areas.

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Waitrose shopping rules

Waitrose shopping rules (Image: Shutterstock)

When are Waitrose’s stores open?

Waitrose opening times vary so it's best to check the store locator

Are there any buying restrictions in place at Waitrose?

There are no buying restrictions at the time of writing.

What is Waitrose’s policy on face masks?

Waitrose says that customers should wear face masks (unless exempt) and will remind shoppers that this is now mandatory.

Any dedicated elderly & vulnerable shopping times?

Vulnerable and elderly customers can get a Waitrose e-gift card so other people can buy goods for them.

Any dedicated shopping times for NHS workers?

Currently, there are no dedicated shopping hours for NHS staff. 

Any restrictions on shoppers?

Similar to other supermarkets, there will be signs to encourage customers to social distance.

Are contactless card payments up to £100 accepted?

Yes. 

What’s the current waiting time for new online deliveries?

The availability of online delivery slots varies depending on where you live.

 

 

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