Supermarket Christmas shopping rules at Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s explained including shopping alone and ‘bouncers’

ASDA is ramping up its safety measure in stores ahead of the Christmas rush with more staff on the door to manage crowds.

With delivery slots all but sold out at all the major supermarkets, shoppers heading in store at Tesco, Sainsbury's and other retailers can expect to follow a number of rules to keep everyone safe.

Here's what you need to know before you go to supermarkets this Christmas, whether you're doing the big shop or picking up those extra bits and pieces.


Asda said it's stepping up its safety measures for Christmas.

There will be more security staff on the doors at 421 of its larger stores from December 19-24 in addition to safety marshals who returned to shop fronts in September.

Shopppers will be able to secure a place in the queue via an app so they can wait in their car at these stores instead of outside in the cold.

Asda has started using automatic counting technology at busier shops to help it manage the number of people in store.

Shoppers are advised to keep two metres away from other customers and staff, including at counters, as well as to avoid touching items and only picking up what you buy.

The supermarket will also be applying a layer of antimicrobial material to its trollies and baskets to help stop the spread of bacteria and is adding more sanitisation stations.

Alongside this, it's asking people to pay with a card or mobile device where possible and it also has plastic screens at tills.

Customers are advised to shop alone where possible and of course you'll also have to where a face covering in store unless exempt.

Asda doesn't have any product restrictions or limits in place at the moment.


Tesco has a traffic light system in place at larger stores to manage shopper numbers.

When in store, follow social distancing markers and signage, make use of hand sanitiser and cleaning stations and use contactless payment where possible.

There are plastic screens at the till, but it's still mandatory to where a mask inside, unless you are exempt.

If you forget your face covering, there are ones available when you enter the store which you can wear immediately and then pay for with the rest of your shopping.

Here’s how to cut the cost of your grocery shop

SAVING on your shop can make a big difference to your wallet. Here are some tips from about how you can cut the cost of your shopping bills:

  • Write yourself a list – Only buy items that you need. If it isn’t on your list, don’t put it in the trolley
  • Create a budget – Work out a weekly budget for your food shopping
  • Never shop hungry – you are far more likely to buy  more food if your tummy is rumbling
  • Don’t buy pre-chopped veggies or fruit – The extra they’ll charge for chopping can be eye watering
  • Use social media – follow your favourite retailers to find out about the latest deals
  • Be disloyal – You may want to go to different stores to find the best bargains
  • Check the small print –  It’s always worth checking the price per kg/lb/litre when comparing offers so you’re making a like for like decision as a bigger box won’t necessarily mean you get more
  • Use your loyalty cards – Don’t be afraid to sign up to them all. They all work slightly differently – work out what bonus suits you better and remember to trade in your points for additional rewards

Vulnerable customers will still find dedicated shopping hours to help reduce the risk and these can be found by checking with your local store.

And NHS staff, emergency services and care workers will get priority access.

Tesco brought back some limits on the items you can purchase back in September, and there are some restrictions which have been in place since early on in the pandemic.

There's still a limit of three per person in store on five items:

  • flour
  • dried pasta
  • toilet roll
  • baby wipes
  • anti-bacterial wipes

Tesco is extending its opening hours in the run-up to Christmas with some locations open for 24 hours.


Sainsbury's has greeters at doors limiting the number of people in store at any one time and it's encouraging customers to shop alone where possible.

You must wear a face covering, unless you're exempt, and there will be staff reminding you of this as you enter – they will also be able to help you if you arrive without a mask.

When in store there are sanitation stations, perspex safety screens at tills and social distancing markers and signs.

The supermarket also advises shoppers to avoid busy times, keep two trolleys apart from other customers and pay with card or mobile where possible.

Elderly and vulnerable customers and NHS and care workers with an NHS ID get priority access, which means they don't have to queue.

Sainsbury's doesn't have any restrictions in place on any items because of coronavirus at the moment.

The supermarket is extending its opening hours in the run-up to Christmas, to give people more time and space to shop.


There continues to be a traffic light queuing system operating at Aldi to manage shopper numbers along with a range of other safety measures.

Face coverings are mandatory, unless exempt, as they are in all shop and there is social distancing markets in store which shoppers should follow.

Aldi is advising customers to avoid busy times, which is usually 11am-3pm and to shop alone if you can.

And there are perspex screens at tills and when you're there, pay with card or other contactless option where possible.

There are priority opening times for the elderly and vulnerable and the same for NHS staff and emergency workers – check with your local store when these are.

There are no restrictions in place or buying limits because of Covid at the moment.

Aldi is extending it's opening hours so there's more time and space to shop safely.

How much supermarkets charge for click and collect delivery

HERE’S how much the major supermarkets charge for click and collect grocery deliveries:

  • Asda: Click and collect is free for next day or later deliveries. But you must spend at least £25, if not there's a £4 charge.
  • Morrisons: Click and collect is free all day Monday to Thursday, from 12pm to 4pm on Fridays and Sundays, and from 2pm to 4pm on Saturdays. Outside these hours it costs £1 but only 14 stores currently offer this service.
  • Sainsbury's: Click and collect is free for next day or later deliveries. But you must spend at least £40, if not there's a £4 charge.
  • Tesco: Click and collect costs £1.50 if you spend at least £25, if not you'll be charged an extra £4 on top.


Lidl is asking shoppers to avoid busy times, usually between 8am and 11pm, and has guards at the doors to limit entry at busy times.

Face masks must be worn in store and there are social distancing markers and signage in place while at the checkouts, there are screens and contactless purchases are encouraged.

The elderly, vulnerable and single parent families should ask for assistance if they need it.

Lidl has no store-wide restrictions in place, but managers are able to bring in limits to their specific shop if they need to.


At Marks and Spencer safety measures in store include social distancing markers and signage, hand sanitiser and perspex screens.

The rule on wearing face masks in shops applies, unless exempt, and staff on doors will continue to manage the number of people in store.

M&S also has a mobile pay option that helps you avoid queues in some stores.

With the M&S mobile pay and go app, you can scan your shopping as you go and pay at the end with it instead of at the checkout.

Just keep in mind this only applies on shops of less than £30 and you have to be a member of its Sparks loyalty scheme.

It's also just introduced a way to book a shopping spot so you don't have to queue to get in.

The "book and shop" service means you can queue virtually and arrive for a pre-booked 30 minute slot without having to wait.

M&S is opening for longer than usual in the run up to Christmas too.

Brits have been urged not to stockpile food over No Deal Brexit fears.

Meanwhile, Aldi is set to slash the cost of its Christmas veggies to just 19p as the annual supermarket price war over the cheapest greens kicks off.

Plus, Tesco and Asda have been accused of charging customers 10% more than Lidl and Aldi for nearly identical Christmas food under different labels.

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