Coronavirus: information and updates

Food and essentials during coronavirus

The Government, supermarkets and community groups are working together to make sure everyone can get the supplies they need.

We’ll try to keep this information up to date, but do check with specific supermarkets and Government information for the most recent updates to their services.

Government support for extremely vulnerable people

The Government has a support service for people with medical conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.

What do we mean by extremely vulnerable? (GOV.UK)

This service can help you get essential supplies if you do not have help from friends, family and neighbours. You may also get a letter with “important advice to keep you safe from coronavirus”. This will include information on how you can get help with vital supplies.

Register for the coronavirus support service (GOV.UK)

Local groups and volunteers can help you get essentials

Some local organisations or groups are co-ordinating volunteers to get food and other essentials for people who are unable to go to supermarkets or get food deliveries.

Find a local group (Covid mutual aid)

You could also check for local groups through Facebook groups set up for your local area. Or you could try phoning your local corner shop to see if they will deliver.

Your local authority or council should have information on coronavirus and community support on their website. Your area may have more than one website. Check all of them. For example:

  • county council
  • local authority
  • district council
  • city council

If you cannot find information for community support, contact general enquiries.

Find your local authority (GOV.UK)


Many supermarkets are changing their service to help those who are vulnerable or in self-isolation. This includes things like:

  • changing opening hours with certain times and days dedicated for vulnerable customers only
  • creating priority delivery slots
  • restricting how many items you can buy so there’s enough for everyone

Some supermarkets are now prioritising deliveries based on a Government list of people who are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. Check supermarket websites to find out how they’re allocating deliveries.

Access to vulnerable shopping hours

Many supermarkets are not asking for proof that you’re disabled or vulnerable. If you’re asked you may just need to explain that you have a health condition or are disabled. If you’re worried about getting access to the vulnerable shopping hours, you could try taking disability benefit or blue badge paperwork with you.

You could also try getting a sunflower lanyard. This tells staff you have an invisible condition and may help you access the vulnerable shopping hours.

How to get a sunflower lanyard (Tesco)

Sunflower lanyard scheme (Sainsbury’s)

Warning Check your local supermarket website

Check your local supermarket website for updated information on changes to their services and the support they can give you.


Sainsbury’s are offering priority delivery and click and collect slots for older people, disabled people and vulnerable customers. If you are not on their vulnerable customers list, call free on 0800 328 1700. They are also working with the Government to reach people considered extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 8am and 9am all their supermarkets will only serve older customers, disabled customers and carers.

Check Sainsbury’s for updates


Morrisons have no priority delivery slots or in-store shopping times but have started providing ‘food boxes’ with everyday essentials. These are delivered by courier.

Morrisons food boxes


The first opening hour of each Waitrose supermarket is dedicated to older people, vulnerable customers and those who look after them. Waitrose are also limiting how many people are in the shop at a time. This is to help keep the 2 metre social distancing.

Waitrose offer home delivery and click and collect. They are starting to offer priority delivery slots.

Check Waitrose for updates


All Tesco stores (except Tesco Express) will prioritise older people and vulnerable people between 9am and 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Tesco have home delivery and click and collect. They’re planning to put delivery slots aside for vulnerable customers as they add more deliveries.

Check Tesco for updates


Asda are working on providing priority home delivery slots for people the Government has identified as extremely vulnerable support service.

They do not have in-store shopping times for older or more vulnerable people. But the number of customers in a store will be limited to make sure people can use social distancing.

Check Asda for updates

Asda have also created a Volunteer Shopping Card. This provides a contactless and secure way for others to shop for you if you’re self-isolating.

Volunteer Shopping Card (Asda)


All Co-op stores have a dedicated shopping hour for those at higher risk and the people who care for them. Check with your local store for details.

Co-op do offer home delivery but have a restriction of 20 items to help meet demand.

Check Co-op for updates


The first hour of trade has been set aside for people over 70 and vulnerable customers on Mondays and Thursdays.

Check M&S for updates


Iceland are offering home delivery but demand is still high.

Check Iceland for updates


Aldi offers home delivery but not for groceries. It has no priority delivery slots or in-store shopping times for vulnerable people.

Check Aldi for updates

Meal delivery services

Meals on Wheels

If you are eligible, your council or other local organisations may provide meals delivered to your home.

Get meals at home (meals on wheels) (GOV.UK)

Wiltshire Farm Foods

Wiltshire Farm Foods are only accepting orders for ready meals from existing customers and those who are extremely vulnerable.

Check Wiltshire Farm Foods for updates


Home delivery is busy but they are trying to make more slots available daily. They’re also continuing to prioritise those in “at risk” groups or self-isolating.

Check Cook for updates

Parsley Box

Cupboard stored ready-meals delivered to your door. They are taking new customers but delivery can take 3 to 4 days.

Parsley Box

Vibrant Vegan Co.

Vegan ready meals delivered to your door.

Vibrant Vegan Co. ready meals


HelloFresh deliver ingredients for you to cook set meals you’ve chosen from their menu.

Check HelloFresh for updates


Gousto also deliver ingredients for you to cook set meals but they are only taking orders from existing customers.

Check Gousto for updates

Other food deliveries

Check the latest updates on delivered food offers (MoneySaving Expert)

Local food and veg box schemes

You could also see if there is a food box delivery scheme in your area:

Find an organic box scheme (Soil Association)

Food Box Finder

Food banks

Food banks are community organisations that support people who cannot afford the essentials.

If you cannot afford food

Search online for your local food bank or find a food bank on the Trussell Trust website.

Find a food bank (Trussell Trust)

If you can afford food

If you can afford food but are unable to get it because you’re self-isolating or for other reasons, do not go to a food bank. Contact your local authority instead.

Find your local authority (GOV.UK)

Contact Citizens Advice

Last reviewed by Scope on: 25/03/2020

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