A lack of social distancing in supermarkets is causing concern - how to stay safe

Social distancing measures have now been in place for many months, but as lockdowns continue across the UK, the Vaccine Minister has warned that these measures are slipping in certain settings.

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi has raised concerns of people not sticking to the coronavirus rules in supermarkets or when exercising outside.

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Addressing coronavirus measures in place, Mr Zahawi told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “this virus loves social interactions,” and said he’s “worried about supermarkets and people actually wearing masks and following the one-way system, and making sure when it’s at capacity they wait outside the supermarket.”

As well as supermarkets, the Vaccine Minister also raised concerns about social interactions outside, saying: “I’m worried about some of the pictures I’ve seen of social interactions in parks, if you have to exercise you can go out for exercise only.”

Mr Zahawi told Times Radio: “These rules are not boundaries to be pushed at, they are rules to help all of us bring down the death rate, bring down the pressure on the NHS and help us, help me, keep vaccinating so that we can actually get ahead of the virus.”

How to keep safe in the supermarket

Many supermarkets have now introduced coronavirus measures to keep both customers and staff safe.

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On arrival, some supermarkets have trolley and basket sanitising stations in place, with paper tissues and antibacterial spray ready to allow you to clean your basket or trolley before use.

Hand sanitising stations are also available on arrival to most supermarkets, alongside some having stations dotted around inside the store, but it’s always worth taking your own, just in case.

It’s also important to remember to take and wear a face covering while in the supermarket, unless medically exempt from doing so. 

Social distancing signs are in place in most supermarkets, with distance markers on the floor so that you can stay two metres apart from other shoppers.

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If approaching a member of staff to ask for help, keep the social distancing rule in place in order to keep each other safe. Plastic screens are also now in place at the checkouts in most supermarkets.

One way systems may be used so that shoppers don’t accidentally bump into each other.

Traffic light systems are up and running in some supermarkets in order to avoid stores being too full at any one time. On arrival to the supermarket, take a quick glance above the door to see if this is something which is in place. If the green light is showing, you can head straight in.

Some supermarkets have implemented daily shopping hours dedicated to the elderly or NHS staff, so if you fall into one of these categories it’s worth checking your local store to see if this is something they have in place.

Supermarkets may also be quieter first thing in the morning or last thing at night, so if you'd rather shop when there are not many other customers about, this may be an option to consider.