- All Waitrose shops will protect batches of ‘hard to find’ and essential stock exclusively for NHS workers to ensure they have better opportunity to access basic shopping items at all times of the day
- NHS staff will receive priority checkout treatment in all Waitrose supermarkets either through a dedicated till or moved to the front of the queue
- John Lewis is donating comfort items and Easter gift food to local hospitals, to support workers
From tomorrow (Monday 23 March), Waitrose shops will set aside a proportion of hard-to-find and essential products from every delivery that arrives into its supermarkets - exclusively for NHS staff, on production of an NHS card. Whenever available, Partners in shops will reserve core grocery items to help get crucial basics to hard-working NHS workers - who often do not have flexibility over what time of the day they can visit a supermarket.
Also from today, NHS staff will be given priority checkout service in the retailer's shops to ensure they are able to get through as quickly and easily as possible - through either dedicated NHS checkouts, Partners opening up new tills for them as needed or moving to the front of the queue.
In addition, John Lewis is responding to requests from NHS workers for anything that would make their breaks more comfortable. The retailer will be donating items such as pillows, phone chargers, eye masks and hand cream, as well as 50,000 Easter treats, to hospitals.
Says Berangere Michel, Executive Director for Customer Service at the John Lewis Partnership: "Through these steps we want to recognise the tireless work of NHS staff, supporting us all through these unprecedented circumstances. We hope these measures make their life a little easier; our Partners are keen to do something to help, and we are offering this with sincere thanks from us all."
These new measures follow steps outlined by the John Lewis Partnership earlier this week to support customers, including the launch of a £1million Community Support Fund to help local communities along with a protected shopping hour for the elderly and vulnerable.
Many Waitrose shops have already been using their community funds to assemble care packages of essential items for vulnerable or elderly people in the local community.
The John Lewis Partnership has also launched a support fund to aid its Partners who are facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic; such as childcare costs. Partners are also being offered free meals at work. And yesterday (20 March) announced it is working with Age UK, FareShare, the Trussell Trust, Grocery Aid and Retail Trust - donating £75,000 initially to each of the five charities, for immediate activity in response to the coronavirus outbreak.