Asda supermarket has introduced some strict new measures following the discovery of the new variant, Omicron, that will take immediate effect.
It comes as news arrived that the new strain could become a dominant version in the UK within weeks.
Asda said: “We have introduced new initiatives to supplement the comprehensive safety measures that make our Asda stores a Covid-19 secure place to shop and work. These changes adhere to the advice from the Government and have been put in place to keep you and our colleagues safe.
“The coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all like we could never have imagined but we’re determined to do all we can to feed the nation, support our colleagues, customers, communities, and other stakeholders through these challenging and unprecedented times.”
1. Face coverings
“Following Government guidance, face coverings are mandatory in Asda stores.
“England: We are asking customers to follow the new guidance and wear a mask unless they are exempt. We have colleagues on hand to help if you have forgotten your mask.
“Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland: Customers must wear face coverings while in store in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, unless you are exempt.
“Customers can enter Asda stores without a face covering if they have a medical condition or invisible disability that prevents them from wearing a covering.
“Following Government guidance, all Asda store colleagues in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will now wear a covering while at work unless they have a medical exemption.
“Asda has always encouraged its colleagues to wear a covering by offering them a choice of disposable and reusable coverings and visors. Colleagues not wearing face coverings due to medical reasons will be wearing a badge to help our customers feel reassured.”
2. Hand sanitisation stations
“We have hand sanitisation stations at the front of our stores in addition to the multiple cleaning points already found throughout stores.”
3. Antimicrobial handles
“We have applied a protective coating to all basket and trolley handles, creating an antimicrobial surface that limits the spread of bacteria. The same coating technology (Biomaster X shield) is already used to limit the spread of bacteria in the NHS Nightingale Excel hospital.”
4. Hygiene measures
“We take the safety of our customers and colleagues very seriously and have a number of hygiene measures in our stores, including the use of sanitiser spray and increased cleaning in busy areas. We have also placed perspex screens at checkouts and kiosks to protect our colleagues.”
5. Online grocery shopping
“To help reduce the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) and to keep you and our colleagues safe:
– All our delivery drivers and collections colleagues will maintain at least a two-metre distance at all times.
– Our colleagues have been provided with alcohol hand gel and cleaning materials to keep our equipment clean for every order.
– Our colleagues have been provided with face coverings and will wear them at all times.
“To ensure there is enough for everyone, we will occasionally place purchase limits on certain products that are in high demand.
“Please shop responsibly so there’s enough to go round. You can help by only amending your order once and only if urgent. We have plenty of stock coming in but we need to manage demand so we can serve everyone.”