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Essential Tier 4 supermarket rules to know: Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and more

The latest guidelines from the UK's supermarkets

Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
Updated: January 4, 2021
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It's almost been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began and as more areas across the UK move into tighter Tier 4 restrictions to protect people from the new virus strain, our supermarkets have their own rules for shoppers to follow.

The Government website says: "If you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a 'reasonable excuse'." Food shopping is one of these reasons.

"You can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services from a business which is permitted to open in your Tier 4 area, but you should stay local.

"For instance, you can leave home to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items – including food or drink – ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (for example, from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person."

We've compiled a list of the latest regulations of all the main UK supermarkets to help make your life easier…

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  • Tesco continues to have social distancing guidelines and signage in place, as well as hand sanitiser and cleaning stations around their stores.
  • They have protective screens at checkouts and are asking customers to pay by card if possible.
  • The store requests that customers shop alone if they can to improve safety.
  • Tesco has installed a 'traffic light' system in some of their larger stores to manage the flow of people in and out. If there's a queue outside and it's raining, the staff at larger stores will provide sanitised umbrellas.
  • Customers are asked to wear a face covering. The store is selling face coverings to purchase at the front of their stores and you can pay for it with your shopping later.
  • Tesco is still offering dedicated hours for vulnerable customers and giving NHS workers priority access. Check your local store's opening hours.
  • The supermarket is encouraging customers to buy only what they need and has introduced buying limits to some essential products.

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  • Sainsbury's is offering elderly and vulnerable customers and NHS and care workers with an NHS ID priority access to their stores. These people can skip the queue at any time.
  • The supermarket has socially distanced queuing systems in place outside their stores, supported by a greeter at the front of stores at busier times of day.
  • Sainsbury's asks customers to wear a mask when you are in their stores unless you are medically exempt from wearing a mask.
  • Sainsbury’s colleagues now wear face coverings when they are working on the shop floor and not behind a safety screen.
  • The store asks that you only send one adult per household when you shop.
  • Sainsbury's is asking customers to only buy what they need as stock levels are good.

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  • Customers must wear face coverings while in-store, unless they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing one. Packets of disposable masks are available in every store and can be worn whilst shopping, before paying for these at the tills.
  • All Asda store colleagues will now wear a covering while at work unless they have a medical exemption. Staff not wearing face coverings due to medical reason will be wearing a badge to help customers feel reassured.
  • The supermarket has created 1,000 new Asda Safety Marshals stationed at the front of every store and in the aisles of larger stores to help customers.
  • The store continues to support social distancing.
  • Asda has introduced sanitising points and additional hand sanitisation stations in the busiest sections of all stores.
  • The shop has applied a protective coating to all basket and trolley handles, creating an antimicrobial surface that limits the spread of bacteria. They also have perspex screens at checkouts and kiosks.
  • Asda has introduced 'Scan and Go’ mobile to all of their supermarkets, superstores and supercentres. Customers can use their own device to scan their shopping and pack as they go. Just visit the app store to download the free Asda Scan & Go app.
  • The credit and debit card contactless payment limit amount has now been increased to £45.


  • Morrisons is introducing temporary purchase limits on products where there is high demand, so they remain available for longer for more customers to buy.
  • Cleaning of the stores has been increased throughout the day.
  • The supermarket is asking customers at the checkout to pay, if possible, by card or smartphone to reduce cash handling.
  • Sanitiser for cleaning hands and trolleys and baskets is available at the front of every store.
  • The supermarket is welcoming workers from Marie Curie and CLIC Sargent charity shops to help support the elderly and vulnerable customers. 
  • Morrisons also have a National Health Service Hour on Monday to Saturday from 7am to 8am. A colleague will meet NHS workers with an NHS badge at a clearly marked staff entrance.


  • In accordance with government announcements, it is mandatory for all customers (with certain exceptions) shopping at Aldi stores to wear a face covering for the duration of their visit.
  • Aldi is operating a traffic light system to ensure that social distancing guidelines can be followed easily and safely. The system shows green for 'enter' and red for 'thank you for waiting patiently'.
  • The supermarket has introduced trolley and basket cleaning stations and placed markers on the floor to encourage social distancing. Perspex screens have also been installed at checkouts.
  • Every Monday to Saturday, Aldi stores will open 30 minutes prior to their usual opening times for our elderly and most vulnerable customers.
  • The store is asking customers to buy only what they need; their stock is being replenished every day.

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  • During peak times, a designated person will be at the front of stores to keep customer numbers at a safe limit.
  • The supermarket has a sanitising station at the front of stores to clean hands and baskets and trolleys.
  • Floor markings and signs have been introduced to keep a safe flow of customers around the store.
  • As with other supermarkets, face coverings are required except for those with medical conditions.
  • Lidl has a traffic light system in place on their website to show customers the quietest times to shop.
  • The supermarket asks that where possible, could customers handle only the products they intend to buy.
  • Lidl is providing disposable gloves for customers to use along with the tongs in their bakery section so they can bag loose items safely.


  • The supermarket says their stock levels remain strong and they continue to have some caps on a limited range of products on
  • Waitrose is continuing to manage the number of customers in their stores to help people keep a safe distance from others. To avoid queues, they suggest shopping earlier or later in the day when it is often quieter. 
  • The supermarket has dedicated marshals for every store to help manage queues.
  • Waitrose has floor signage to help customers social distance. They also have hand sanitiser stations at the entrance to stores and screens have been placed at checkouts.
  • The supermarket is prioritising their disabled, elderly and vulnerable customers when queuing outside their shops, as well as NHS workers and carers with a suitable ID.

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