Latest shopping rules and buying restrictions for Tesco, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Asda

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UK supermarkets including Tesco, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Asda have all introduced new rules in-store and online in fear that customers may start to stockpile and panic buy. From shopping alone to when you must wear a face mask – food stores around the country have brought in new policies. Here is everything shoppers must know before travelling to a grocery store.

Face masks are mandatory for customers in Scotland and England and there is a fine if shoppers refuse to wear one. 

This, of course, does exclude exempt customers who must carry an exempt card.


Supermarket giant Tesco has recently introduced buying restrictions across essential items in-store including three to four units of dried pasta, flour, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes.

Online, customers will find a purchase limit on rice and canned vegetables. 

If a customer has forgotten their face mask when visiting a Tesco store, there will be face coverings available to purchase near the front of its stores and customers can then pay at the checkout. 

All stores are still prioritising access for elderly and vulnerable customers between 9am and 10am every Wednesday and Sunday and NHS workers can get priority access to Tesco stores and can skip the queue at any time with a valid ID. 

The supermarket is still encouraging people to shop on their own and there are both markings in-store and in car parks to help people adhere to social distance guidelines. 


Unlike Tesco, Aldi has lifted restrictions on all products and isn’t planning any purchase limits at the moment. 

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In a letter to customers, CEO Giles Hurley said: “I would like to reassure you that our stores remain fully stocked and ask that you continue to shop considerately. There is no need to buy more than you usually would. We have remained open for our customers throughout the pandemic and will continue to have daily deliveries, often multiple times a day, across all of our products.”

The number of people in-store is being limited with the use of a traffic light system outside of stores indicating to customers when it is safe to go inside and when they must form a queue in the car park. 

All stores will be open half an hour earlier on Sundays for NHS, police and fire service workers as well as emergency workers with a Blue Light card. 

Aldi stores will also have its doors open 30 minutes earlier Monday to Saturday for the elderly and vulnerable to browse groceries. 


There are currently no buying restrictions across any items but Sainsbury’s says it will occasionally implement purchase limits on certain items if they need to.

One adult per household will be allowed into the store and there is a queuing system in place outside of Sainsbury’s stores if there are too many people in the store at any one time.

Once again the supermarket is prioritising elderly and vulnerable customers for online delivery slots and they can visit stores between 8am and 9am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for priority access.

All NHS and social care workers will have priority access for half an hour before they open from Monday to Saturday with a valid ID. 


Although there are no current buying restrictions on any items, the supermarket giant says it will occasionally put purchase limits on certain products that are high in demand. 

All NHS staff and care workers can get priority access to larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8am-9am with a valid work ID.

The supermarket giant has also brought in 1,000 new safety marshals across its stores to make sure shoppers are staying safe and following its guidance.

If customers are not wearing masks in store, they will be told they can buy a pack of disposable masks and pay for them at the checkout with the rest of their shop.

Supermarkets across the country will also provide sanitisation stations to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Asda are also introducing protective coatings to their basket and trolley handles which is designed to help stop the spread of bacteria and viruses. 

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