Waitrose has told customers that it is “still happy to deliver” to them if they are self-isolating due to coronavirus.
The grocer is the first to directly address the issue as panic buying ensues across the country leaving many supermarket shelves empty.
In a message on its online delivery app Waitrose said: “If you are self-isolating, we will be happy to deliver to you but please contact Customer Care once you have booked your slot to discuss specific arrangements, including where we can leave your shopping”.
This mirrors moves made by many Chinese companies like Alibaba and JD.com who have rolled out “contactless” delivery options, allowing deliveries to be made without the delivery driver and customers ever having to make contact.
It comes as Ocado, which takes care of around six per cent of all Waitrose online deliveries, warned customers that “exceptionally high demand” was causing delivery slots to sell out rapidly.
It advised shoppers to place orders around two or three days before their intended delivery date to ensure it arrived on time, encouraging them to book weekday delivery if possible rather than on busier weekends.
Yesterday it was reported that 24 per cent of British retailers have said the supply chain disruptions from coronavirus could lead to “a permanent change in their business”.
However, only seven per cent of these retailers – ranging from food to fashion and health and beauty – said they had enough flexibility in their supply chain to be able to switch suppliers.
Meanwhile, three-quarters of retailers expect to see a sales decline if the virus persists.
A Waitrose spokesperson told The Grocer “As a responsible retailer, we are doing this temporarily to keep our customers and our drivers safe”.