Police guard shops to stop coronavirus panic-buyers and enforce social distancing – The Sun

COPS guarded shops yesterday as efforts continue to enforce social distancing and stop panic buyers ransacking shelves.

Officers were seen standing outside stores in London to limit the amount of people pouring into supermarkets amid the coronavirus crisis.

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Lidl and Sainsbury's stores in a Stratford shopping centre, east London, had police stationed outside, while a Tesco at Mile End also had officers at the one open entrance.

A Met Police spokesperson said: "Supermarkets have their own security and procedures in place, police are there to respond to requests for assistance.

"We maintain ongoing dialogue with businesses, in order to minimise the demands on policing from any resulting large crowds or queues at shops, and as part of our regular civil contingency engagement with businesses and partners."

It comes as some shops have brought in bouncers to help keep panic buyers calm and orderly amid the pandemic.

People have been ransacking shelves and battling with others to get sought-after items such as hand sanitiser and toilet roll.

Tesco has taken on pub bouncers, who have been left without work after they were shut down by Boris Johnson.

Last week we told how a pensioner pictured next to empty supermarket shelves has said the panic buying that has gripped Britain is worse than living through the war.

Anthony Glynn, 79, captured the nation's hearts when a photograph showing him sadly staring at his shopping list went viral online after the shelves had been stripped bare.


It comes after supermarkets started limiting the number of customers in stores and put up screens to protect staff from the coronavirus.

It comes as Boris Johnson this week ordered people to stay at home and announced he's asked the police to enforce the new measures.

Yesterday it was revealed 9,529 people have the infection in the UK and 465 have now died from it.

Prince Charles, 71, has been struck down by the virus but is said to be doing well, and the Queen is also in "good health".

To protect grocery shoppers and staff alike, Waitrose said the number of customers allowed in at any one time will be limited so that social distancing can be maintained.

It'll operate a "one in, one out" policy when it's judged that the shop is at capacity, which will depend between each branch based on the number of tills.


ONLY a small group of retailers will be allowed to stay open, they include: 

  • Supermarkets
  • Pharmacies
  • Takeaways and food deliveries
  • Health shops
  • Medical services – eg, dentists
  • Vets
  • Newsagents
  • Pet shops
  • Hardware stores
  • Retail shops in hospitals
  • Petrol stations
  • Bicycle shops
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Undertakers
  • Banks, building socities
  • Short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points
  • Storage and distribtion centres
  • Post Offices
  • Car rental services and car parks near vital services such as supermarkets
  • Public toilets
  • Car garages and repair shops
  • Food banks and shelters

Morrisons is also introducing signage in stores to support social distancing, including floor stickers, posters and banners which will ask customers to keep one trolley distance apart.

It'll also give guidance on where to wait and where to queue.Iceland said it's in the process of putting down tape to encourage social distancing at checkouts, and will fit screens to checkouts from next week.

Lidl this week announced plans to introduce the screens in all stores too, but it hasn't yet clarified when customers can expect them to appear.

And Sainsbury's told The Sun it's introducing screens at manned checkouts as quickly as possible.


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Last week, McDonald's and Tesco stores started using sticky tape to mark how far apart customers should stand to mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Meanwhile, here's a guide on what each supermarket is rationing due to panic-buying shoppers.

Online deliveries and shopping will continue despite the move to close all non-essential shops yesterday.

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