The health and safety of our colleagues and customers is our priority and we’re following the advice of the health authorities to make sure we’re taking the right steps, for example:
- Our stores are regularly cleaned, but we’ve also taken on additional cleaning services so that our trolleys, baskets, self-scan machines, ‘scan as you shop’ handsets, and chip and pin terminals are regularly cleaned with disinfectant products. There are also sanitising stations available at our store entrances.
- Our colleagues are taking regular breaks to wash their hands thoroughly and we have provided them with hand and surface antibacterial wipes.
- We’re operating social distancing in store and we’re reminding our customers with advertising, signs and messaging. We're also asking customers to adhere to 'one trolley one person' in store. We recognise that this is not always possible, and where customers need to come to stores with their family, or other people in their care, we will of course adopt a common-sense approach. We appreciate the ongoing support and patience of our colleagues and customers as we all work in a new way.
- Following a successful trial at our Greystones store, we are rolling out new queue-management technology at our store entrances. The technology indicates the number of people in store at any one time, highlighting when it is safe to enter with directional arrows permitting entry, or a stop sign if customers need to wait. This is a simple, accurate way of reducing queue times and allows our colleagues spend more time helping customers.
- At checkouts, we’ve installed plexiglass screens, as well as floor markings and signs to keep a two-metre gap at both ends, and we are also opening every second checkout, where possible, to create more space.
- Our Grocery Home Shopping Drivers have also been provided with hand sanitising and surface wipes and advice on social distancing. They also know what steps to take if they are delivering to homes where somebody might be self-isolating.
- Community is really important to us, but for hygiene purposes, we’ve paused charity bag-packing and the distribution of our Community Fund blue tokens for now – we’ll begin these activities again as soon as we can. In the meantime, as part of the Community Fund, three special donations of €50,000 have been made to ALONE, Age Action and Family Carers Ireland to support their efforts in helping the elderly, family carers and those most vulnerable members of our communities across the country. And we are still working hard to support our local communities through the Tesco Community Fund, too. For the first round of the Community Fund during Covid-19, a total of 453 local good causes the local good causes that represented the elderly, health impaired and vulnerable were identified and contacted to be a recipient of a donation from the Fund, with donations totalling €120,000. The second round of the Community Fund during Covid-19 (the fourth overall of 2020) is now underway. 453 community-based projects who provide mental health support services, supports for victims of domestic abuse, the homeless, and people experiencing food poverty are among those who will benefit from total donations of €120,000. We will continue to work to identify relevant local good causes to support through the Community Fund as the situation with Covid-19 continues.
We really appreciate the hard work of our colleagues who are going over and above, as well as the support and encouragement that our customers are showing to our staff in our stores. It really helps as we all play our part.
In recognition of our colleagues' effort and dedication during this challenging time, we decided to give a 10 per cent bonus for colleagues across stores and distribution backdated to 9 March until 1 May, at which point we extended it for a further four weeks. And, to help our colleagues in protecting their mental as well as physical health at this time, all colleagues across retail, distribution and our head office, have also been provided with free access to the Headspace app until April 2021.
In addition to this, we are also supporting colleagues in that, should they become sick with coronavirus (COVID-19), we have temporarily amended our Sick Pay policy to reflect the Government amendments to Social Welfare Illness Benefit. Colleagues will be paid sick pay from the first day of absence - less the value of the Social Welfare Illness Benefit - if they are medically certified as having the coronavirus or are required to enter into medically certified self-isolation due to the coronavirus by a doctor.
The HSE has published the below guidelines on shopping safely during the coronavirus pandemic, and there is further information available here.