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 check with specific supermarkets and government information for the most recent updates.
Government support for extremely vulnerable people
There is a support service for people with medical conditions that make them 'extremely vulnerable' to coronavirus. You’re considered extremely vulnerable if you have a medical condition that means you may become seriously ill from the virus. It’s not based on if you are disabled or how hard you find things like shopping or going outside.
Many supermarkets are changing their service to help those who are vulnerable or extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, or in self-isolation. This includes things like:
changing opening hours with certain times and days dedicated for vulnerable customers only
offering food boxes with essentials
creating priority delivery slots
restricting how many items you can buy so there’s enough for everyone
making sure people can shop safely
Some supermarkets in England are prioritising deliveries based on a government list of people who are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.
All supermarkets in Wales offering home delivery have been sent details of people shielding. This means your delivery will be prioritised.
Check each supermarket to find out how they’re allocating deliveries. You will need to register for online shopping on their website.
If you’re struggling to get deliveries from your supermarket, you could try phoning your local corner shop to see if they will deliver.
Access to vulnerable shopping hours
Many supermarkets are not asking for proof that you’re disabled or have a medical condition. 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.
Check your local supermarket website for updated information on changes to their services and the support they can give you.
Sainsbury’s is 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. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 8am and 9am all their supermarkets will only serve older customers, disabled customers and carers.
The first opening hour of each Waitrose supermarket is for older people, vulnerable customers and those who look after them. Waitrose is also limiting how many people are in the shop at a time. This is to help keep the 2 metre social distancing.
Waitrose is delivering more than 40% online delivery slots to vulnerable customers. They say that this will increase as they prioritise new slots for those in need.
Many supermarkets are overwhelmed with delivery demand. Check if there is a food box delivery scheme in your area. Some food wholesale suppliers have also now started doing home deliveries to help people get essentials. Just make sure you check the quantities of products if you’re buying from a wholesale supplier.
Some suppliers include other essentials like toilet paper but suppliers vary in what they can supply and where they deliver. Search for wholesale suppliers or food box schemes through:
Local food drops
Local Food Drops are a new service designed to help local communities access food supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. Search for local wholesale suppliers that can deliver food to you.
Use on your doorstep to search for local suppliers that will deliver food and essentials to your door.
While some companies are listed as wholesale suppliers, they are currently committing to delivering to households. The supplier location does not always mean they’re restricted to local deliveries and may distribute nationwide.
Cook offers home delivered frozen ready meals. Their delivery slots are busy but they are trying to make more available daily. They’re also continuing to prioritise those in “at risk” groups or self-isolating.