With the UK back in the third coronavirus lockdown, getting your hands on a food delivery slot can be like gold dust.
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There's good news, however, because supermarkets are continuing to prioritise vulnerable people and have been offering priority booking for online shopping services for the past nine months.
If you're a vulnerable person or know a neighbour or relative who is, and you're overwhelmed with information about how to safely do your grocery shopping, we've rounded up information from five major supermarkets to help.
Find out how you can secure a delivery slot for a vulnerable person at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Ocado and Asda.
Sainsbury's website says: "We’re continuing to prioritise access to home delivery slots for vulnerable customers and we are releasing new slots regularly. If you’re already registered on our Elderly, Disabled & Vulnerable priority list, you will stay on the list."
Delivery hours have also increased to 6.30am - 11.30pm, allowing the supermarket to increase home delivery and click and collect orders.
Sainsbury's has a number to call if you haven't received a vulnerable person letter
How do I book a Sainsbury's home delivery slot for a vulnerable person?
You need to follow instructions from the text message or letter you received to register as vulnerable on the government's website. All vulnerable people should have been contacted during the initial lockdown, but those who still need to register should visit gov.uk, and then contact your GP to request a letter.
"For vulnerable customers who have been offered a slot and are unable to place their order online, we are offering a telephone ordering service and we now have five times the number of colleagues on hand to help with this," the website states.
The number for the NHS Volunteer Responders programme is 0808 196 3646.
What if I can't get a delivery slot even though I've been identified as vulnerable?
New delivery slots are released each day, so customers are being advised to keep checking for available slots.
Tesco's CEO Dave Lewis previously said: "We were given an initial list of 110,000 clinically and socially isolated people by the Government. From these, we were able to match 75,000 existing customers and we’ve already contacted them to let them know we’re making home delivery slots immediately available to them. As we receive more data from Government, we’ll make even more slots available."
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Since last year, the website states the supermarket has more than doubled the number of home delivery and Click+Collect slots to 1.5 million each week to help vulnerable customers.
Tesco has contacted its vulnerable customers
How do I book a Tesco delivery slot for a vulnerable person?
To book a slot, you need to go to tesco.com/groceries and log in. The priority delivery slots have an 8-hour delivery window – either from 10am-6pm or 2pm-10pm.
If you don't currently have an account with Tesco but have received a letter from the NHS because you're classified as clinically vulnerable, you can create an account on their website or call Tesco on 0800 917 7359. The store can then check if you are on the government's list.
A representative for Ocado previously told HELLO!: "We have received the government’s vulnerable shield list and have cross-referenced it with our customer database to help support those in need.
"We have already identified our customers on the vulnerable list and reached out to offer them delivery slots with ocado.com. We will continue to do our part as the government updates its shield list."
You can reach Ocado on the 'Contact Us' section of their website
How do I book an Ocado delivery slot for a vulnerable person?
Ocado offers home delivery seven days a week between 5:30am and 11:30pm, and it now offers M&S food.
Follow the instructions you have received from Ocado's correspondence with you. If you haven't heard from the online supermarket, visit gov.uk to register onto the government’s list. Ocado also suggests getting in touch with them using their 'Contact Us' online form.
The Asda website revealed the supermarket emailed vulnerable customers to offer first access to delivery slots. An Asda spokesperson added: "We are also using our own volunteer card scheme to try and use the fantastic NHS volunteer system to get much-need supplies to those who need them."
Customers can top the shopping card up with funds and give it to their family member, friend, or NHS volunteer to pay for their shopping - adhering to the contactless payment methods.
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The supermarket previously announced plans to make changes to its Priority Customer delivery pass from 1st November, including slot pricing and a fee for orders under £40.
Asda priorities their most vulnerable customers
How do I book an Asda delivery slot for a vulnerable person?
A representative for Asda told HELLO!: "People who’ve been identified on the government’s vulnerable person list will have received either an email or a letter and all the information they need is in there."
In a bid to help feed the nation, Asda increased the number of delivery slots from 450,000 to 745,000 by Christmas.
Like other supermarkets, Morrisons' vulnerable customers will have received communication from them about priority online booking. The store is adding a fast track queue system so its vulnerable customers can be prioritised.
Morrisons is launching a telephone ordering service
How do I book a Morrisons delivery slot for a vulnerable person?
Morrisons has set up a telesales shopping service that allows customers who can't visit the physical stores to order grocery items over the phone for next-day delivery.
The service, which is free for the elderly and vulnerable and now also available for anyone self-isolating, is open 7 days a week and you need to live within 10 miles of a Morrisons store. To get staples such as milk, eggs, potatoes and pasta, call 0345 611 6111.
Customers can now sign up for weekly, fortnightly or monthly deliveries of pre-prepared food boxes, which include vegetarian and vegan and gluten-free options, without needing a delivery slot.
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