Tesco to limit all items to just 3 per person in latest stockpiling ban

Britain's biggest supermarket has introduced a three per person limit on all items as part of latest efforts to curb panic-buying.

Tesco said it will impose the restrictions from Thursday, as it copes with the high demand from the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest limits, which effectively ration purchases of a huge range of products, significantly widen the scope of restrictions that had previously been implemented on a small number of items such as hand sanitiser.

In a letter to staff, chief executive Dave Lewis wrote that all counter services will be closed to focus on stocking shelves from Thursday.

Lewis said the chain will encourage healthy shoppers to come to stores and free up online capacity, and make 9am to 10am an hour prioritised to vulnerable and elderly customers.

  • Coronavirus: UK supermarkets rationing latest and opening hour changes

  • Coronavirus: Morrisons to create 3,500 more jobs to speed up home deliveries

He added: "It is fair to say that we find ourselves in uncharted waters. Covid-19 is bringing a change to the UK and it's clear that lots of things are going to have to shift around in order to help us cope."

A Tesco spokesperson added: "​We are changing these store hours to ensure we can serve customers better at this time. 

"It gives our colleagues the time overnight to restock the store, replenish the shelves and support our online grocery service at a time when demand is high."

At Sainsbury's, a cap of two is being imposed on the most popular items, such as toilet roll, soap and long-life milk.

Meat, fish and pizza counters and cafés are being closed from Thursday to free up lorry and warehouse capacity, as well as shelf-stacking time, for essential items to be replenished.

Asda has also announced it is restricting all customers to buying up to three items on all food, toiletries and cleaning products amid a surge in demand.

The supermarket chain also said it will close its cafes and pizza counters to free space and staff in order to help keep shelves fully stocked.

The retailer has also temporarily reduced the opening hours of all its 24-hour stores, so that they will be closed between 12am and 6am each day for re-stocking.

Morrisons, meanwhile, is to create 3,500 more jobs to speed up home deliveries, while offering staff access to a "hardship fund" to help cover their bills as the pandemic continues to sweep through Britain.

Bosses said the chain will "do its bit" during the emergency – including encouraging card payments and launching pre-packed food parcels.

Under the plans, colleagues will have access to an emergency fund that can be used to help cover payments during periods of sickness.

Colleagues will be able to apply for financial help if they experience a setback and are struggling to make ends meet.

Those who are sick with the Coronavirus will also receive sick pay whether or not they would normally be eligible.

To protect both staff and the public, it said customers will now be asked to pay by card or smartphone to reduce cash handling.

In the coming weeks, a further 100 stores will also be used to gather online orders to ensure customers get the products they need.

And, coinciding with the Prime Minister's calls for the vulnerable to self-isolate for up to four months, the grocer has launched a customer call centre for orders to be taken over the phone so that people who do not shop online can still order food.

As a result, around 2,500 pickers and drivers, and 1,000 warehouse roles will be created.

David Potts, at Morrisons, said: "We expect the days, weeks and months ahead to be very testing and we are determined to do our bit.

"These measures will support our very hard-working colleagues, enable us to provide more food to more people in their homes and create opportunities for people whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus."

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