Some shoppers in Huntingdonshire fear that supermarkets are becoming “death zones” with queues snaking around buildings, lack of signage leading to poor self-distancing and few delivery slots for the elderly.
The coronavirus outbreak has seen life as we know it turn upside down in a matter of weeks; with the government warning people to only leave the house to buy essential items.
Panic buying in the lead up to the UK being put on lockdown led to supermarket shelves being stripped bare and store assistants suffering verbal abuse.
However, despite measures being put in place for NHS keyworkers and stock levels rising – readers tell us that local supermarkets need more procedures in place.
Councillor John Morris, who represents the Brampton ward on Huntingdonshire District Council, said that “supermarkets and convenience stores in Huntingdonshire are death zones.”
“Your signage is pathetic and meanwhile people die,” he said.
At Tesco in Huntingdon, one irate shopper called The Hunts Post to say that the store was “full of people, no one was observing the two-metre rule and staff were being harassed. It was awful,” she said.
Meanwhile, deliveries for those self-isolating mean websites to navigate and up to two weeks before a slot could become available.
Mrs Hayward, 79, from Old Hurst, told us that she is relying on neighbours after having no luck in trying to get an online delivery from Tesco after three weeks.
She explained: “I have tried three times this morning (April 3) and I am logging back on every hour.
“I have been trying to get a delivery for three weeks from Tesco online as I have shopped with them for more than 50 years.
“I understand that there are special hours for elderly people at the store but I cannot make it there as I am self-isolating.
“I don’t want to be a burden by asking neighbours with their own families to keep getting me things.”
She also claimed that even Iceland won’t deliver to her postcode area – despite only living six miles from the store.
The weight of the demand on those affected in rural villages has led to community groups and councils joining forces to help people in need.
One Leisure, in Huntingdon, delivered 37 food parcels on Wednesday (April 1) to vulnerable residents across the district.
Donations came from Waitrose, Barsby Cooked Meats, Produce World and Yaxley Partnership.
Tesco’s Huntingdon store has also advised that directional arrows have now been implemented down all aisles to help with social distancing.
Earlier this week the supermarket giant announced a £30 million package of support for local communities tackling Covid-19.
Tesco Group CEO, Dave Lewis, said: “Our stores are at the heart of the communities we serve and as well as supporting our customers and colleagues, we want to help those who need it most, locally.
“We will significantly boost our food donations programme, to ensure food banks and community groups have the supplies they need; whilst giving extra resources to the British Red Cross and focus our Bags of Help scheme to deliver more community support where its most needed at this difficult time.”
Groups in need of support across Huntingdon can also apply for a £500 grant at www.tescobagsofhelp.org.uk