Retailers introduce dedicated shopping hours for vulnerable

Lidl and Tesco to create dedicated shopping periods for older people and carers

A file image of empty shelves in a Tesco store in Dublin last week. Retailers have insisted that their supply chains remain robust. Photograph: PA

A file image of empty shelves in a Tesco store in Dublin last week. Retailers have insisted that their supply chains remain robust. Photograph: PA


Some Irish retailers have moved to protect vulnerable customers by creating dedicated periods when access to their store is restricted to older customers and carers in bid to reduce the risk of them contracting Covid-19.

From Tuesday, Lidl Ireland will introduce dedicated shopping mornings between 9am and 11am for elderly customers until further notice.

The retailer is asking the public to respect this time period.

The aim is to allow vulnerable customers shop for the food and supplies they need when there a minimal number of customers in the store.

The initiative will include prioritised queuing and additional assistance during these times.

“Our top priority is to continue to support the towns and communities we serve across the country, while ensuring the health and safety of our team during this challenging time,” said Lidl’s managing director JP Scally.

“We’re confident in our robust and agile supply chain, and all of our stores are continuing to receive daily deliveries as planned.

“However, we have seen stronger customer numbers in recent days and as members of the public, it’s our responsibility to look after the more vulnerable in society in these challenging times,” he continued.

“We ask that our customers be considerate and responsible when shopping with us and respect this new measure we are introducing to support the elderly, as there is enough stock in our supply chain for everyone.’

Tesco Ireland has also announced measures to help those most in need. It is offering over 65-year olds and family carers dedicated times for them to shop.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, starting this Wednesday 18th March, these customers will have dedicated access to all Tesco stores up to 9am. Tesco stores open at 7am or 8am, every morning, depending on location.

Kari Daniels, chief executive, Tesco Ireland said the retailer recognised that people over 65 and family carers who are looking after vulnerable family members at home, have specific needs during this time.

“In liaison with the HSE and following discussions with Age Action Ireland and Family Carers Ireland, together we agreed that this is the right thing to do, at this time.

“While these customers can obviously shop with us at any time, we hope that offering this dedicated time will give these customers some peace of mind during their shopping trip with us. We would ask that all our other customers understand and support this initiative to help protect those most in need at this time,” Ms Daniels added.

Family Carers Ireland welcome the initiative and said they hoped “it will give family carers and their loved ones some reassurance in terms of minimising contact risks during this crisis which is impacting on all in our society.”