Aldi, along with other supermarket chains has been keeping customers informed ever since the coronavirus outbreak caused a nationwide lockdown, adapting its rules on how the public can safely shop. Today the brand has revealed that it is taking another step in protecting staff during the pandemic.
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The company confirmed that it will be putting a new face mask policy in place to keep its key workers safe as they serve at the tills and restock shelves.
A statement from Aldi said: “Aldi will be providing the option of face masks to all its store-based colleagues to further support their safety as they continue to feed the nation. This move is in addition to the previously announced provision of gloves and clear screens that are being installed at more than 7,000 checkouts. Colleagues can also now access the Government’s Covid-19 testing programme for critical workers.”
The face mask debate has been discussed over recent weeks as a surge in demand caused a shortage, with experts saying that they need to be reserved for key workers who are coming face to face with the public every day.
However, it is still unclear whether the government policy over face masks will be updated to recommend that people wear them when out in public.
Yesterday it was announced that Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had recommended that all Scots should wear a face covering when out in public, going against Downing Street’s approach.
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Aldi’s latest safety measure comes shortly after it introduced a new voucher scheme.
The vouchers provide a way for the most vulnerable customers to pay for their essentials.
Those in the vulnerable category can buy special vouchers which are then used by volunteers who carry out their shopping for them.
Aldi has also made physical changes to its stores in recent weeks, in order to help follow the government lockdown guidelines.
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The brand added perspex screens around checkouts in order to shield workers as they process payments, following the advice that the virus can be spread via droplets that land on the eyes and face.
The safety precautions are designed to keep both staff and customers safe from unnecessary contact.
The move to give face masks to all of its employees is in addition to the current policy in which all staff wear gloves while they are working in the stores.
Social distancing markers have also been placed throughout the supermarkets so that customers keep away from each other while they fill up their baskets.
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The store has also been updating its opening and closing hours in order to best serve customers and keep shelves stocked up.
Like the other grocery giants, Aldi has prioritised NHS workers and carers by saying anyone with a relevant ID will be able to queue jump as well as getting early access on Sundays.
It’s also been advising customers on the quietest times to visit, encouraging adults to come alone if they can to reduce the number of people in the store at any time.
The budget supermarket has been busy doing its bit to help communities as they struggle with finances in the pandemic.
Writing on the Aldi website, CEO Giles Hurley revealed that the brand had signed up to the Government’s voucher scheme, supporting children eligible for free school meals during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Hurley wrote: “Families that receive vouchers can redeem them in any of our stores. This is a vital initiative to ensure that the 1.3 million children who would normally have a free school meal do not go hungry as a result of staying home to protect the NHS and save lives.”
Aldi is also rewarding its store and distribution staff with a 10% bonus on hours worked until the end of the month.
It’s also looking after its suppliers – on its dedicated coronavirus update page Aldi says: “We will reduce payment terms so that any supplier with a turnover of less than £1m will now be paid immediately. This will benefit over 1,000 Aldi suppliers.”
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