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Coronavirus / Disappointment as Tesco has no plans to re-introduce one-way system

Social distancing floor signage at Tesco. Photo: Shetland News

TESCO has no plans to re-introduce a one-way system in its supermarkets across Scotland in defiance of stricter recommendations made by first minister Nicola Sturgeon last week.

Shetland News was contacted by a concerned reader complaining about the supermarket chain not following the latest guidelines for Scotland. He said he doesn’t feel safe doing his shopping.

Others said staff working in the local store made it difficult for customers to stick to the two metre physical distancing rules.

Announcing a raft of new measures to get the spread of Covid-19 back under control last week, first minister Nicola Sturgeon asked supermarkets to re-introduce measures that were in place earlier in the pandemic.

“I can also confirm that, from this weekend and across Scotland, we are asking shops to return to two metre physical distancing and asking them to reintroduce the mitigations they put in place earlier in the pandemic – for example, one way systems in supermarkets,” she said.

Where possible Tesco has creates separate entrances and exits to their stores.

But Tesco said there was no need to implement any changes to its stores in Scotland, as existing social distancing measures were sufficient to ensure that customers could maintain a two-metre distance while shopping.

A company spokesperson confirmed that following consultation with customers the company had removed the one-way system some time ago and has no plans to re-introduce it.

The example of ‘one way systems’ given by the first minister is not a legal requirement, the company said.

The spokesperson said:The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority.

“We continue to follow all Scottish Government guidance and we have extensive social distancing measures in all of our stores to ensure customers can maintain a 2 metre distance shopping.”

In contrast, the local Co-op continues to operate a one-way system within its stores in Shetland and elsewhere.

The Tesco customer and Shetland News reader, who said he would prefer not to be named, said he could not understand Tesco’s reasoning.

He said it had been safer to do one’s shopping in the early part of the pandemic when fewer people were about, and those who were out actually followed the rules.

Now, he said, he doesn’t feel safe anymore as the number of cases increases everywhere.

“Now at most times people are banging into each other as all are going different ways. Can’t see why they [Tesco] can’t do the same as the Co-op and other shops,” he said.

The Tesco spokesperson said the company can operate a ‘one-in, one-out’ system to limit the number of people in its stores at any one time.

In addition, staff were available at the entrances to Tesco’s larger stores to remind customers of the safety measures in place including the legal requirement to wear facemasks.

Hand sanitisers are placed around local stores for customers and staff to use, as well as extra cleaning products for customers to wipe down their trolley or basket, the spokesperson said.