Edinburgh shoppers urged to give up online slots for people self-isolating during coronavirus epidemic

Older people face nine-day wait for deliveries
Give up online slots, shoppers are urgedGive up online slots, shoppers are urged
Give up online slots, shoppers are urged

REGULAR online shoppers are being urged to give up their slots in favour of people who are isolating at home because of the coronavirus.

Lothian Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour called on those who are able to get out to go to the supermarket in person, freeing up slots for people who cannot get out or have been advised to stay at home.

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He said despite efforts by the supermarkets to boost their drop-off services some elderly people were being told they would have to wait up to nine days for shopping to be delivered.

He said: “I’m getting a lot of correspondence on the issue of older people who are not able to go out not being able to get slots for online shopping deliveries.

“I think it’s becoming a bigger issue particularly with some people being told by the Government to self-isolate for 12 weeks and they’re saying ‘How do we get out food?’

“There seem to be fewer and fewer slots available. I had two people in their 80s in the west of the city who can’t get out and they have been told it will be eight or nine days before they can get a slot.”

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He acknowledged supermarkets were trying to improve the situation.

“To be fair to them, they don’t know until they arrive at the door whether that person is old or disabled or unable to get out.

“But my impression is that quite a lot of people with families are still using online shopping when they could get to the shops.

“I would ask on people who normally do online shopping but have access to a car and don’t have any underlying medical condition to maybe give up those slots so more people who are older and disabled or are self-isolating for other reasons could get those slots.”

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And it is a sentiment some of the big supermarkets appeared to endorse.

On its website Tesco says: “We are releasing slots as and when they become available, but they are filling up quickly. We ask those who are able to safely come to stores to do so, instead of shopping online, to help us prioritise slots for more vulnerable customers.”

And Sainsbury’s says: “We’re seeing extremely high demand for home delivery and are prioritising our most vulnerable customers. You can help by shopping in stores where you can.”

Supermarkets have recruited thousands of extra staff in the past few weeks to help increase the number of home deliveries.

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