Shot on a two-day turnaround, the new campaign explains the social distancing measures the supermarket is taking to keep shoppers safe amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Screens set up to protect till staff at Tesco stores.

Tesco is going live with a new campaign encouraging shoppers to keep their distance during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

Shot overnight on Wednesday in the retailer’s Stevenage Extra store, the ‘Keeping you safe’ advert highlights the measures Tesco has put in place to protect customers and staff at key stages of the shopping trip.

The ad, which is fronted by real employees, explains how car park marshals will be managing shoppers as they arrive to store, while signs showing social distancing advice and queue markers have been installed to help consumers stand 2 metres apart.

To ensure social distancing is achieved, staff will count the number of customers coming into store. Tesco has now limited the number of shoppers that can be in a store at any one time, from 10 customers per Express store (less than 2,000sq ft) to 440 per Extra store (105,000sq ft).

Once inside, the campaign highlights the introduction of new measures including floor markings and one-way aisles, as well as new protective screens installed at till points to protect staff. The campaign also shows the separate entry and exit points consumers must use when shopping in store.

‘Accidental’ stockpilers driving shelf shortages

The campaign rolls out on social and TV today and across the weekend, including during Channel 4’s Gogglebox and ITV’s screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“We felt it was important to help customers understand the changes we’ve made in our stores to keep them safe as they shop,” says Tesco CEO, Dave Lewis.

“We hope they’ll find it helpful. Our aim is to do everything we can to protect our colleagues and customers at this difficult time and ensure everyone has safe access to the food and essentials they need.”

Tesco social distancing
Tesco’s social distancing messaging.

Earlier this week Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe called on shoppers to phase their shopping trips in order to level out demand. The supermarket chain has already cut its number of checkouts and introduced screens to protect staff.

Elsewhere, Asda has reduced opening hours to 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, to help staff clean and restock shelves, while Waitrose has brought in marshals enforcing social distancing and Morrisons had introduced a queuing system on its website to help meet the unprecedented demand.

Next phase of measures

In addition to the new social distancing campaign, Tesco is extending its priority hours for NHS workers. Large stores will now be open only to NHS workers between 9am and 10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as the previously announced browsing time one hour before checkouts open on Sundays.

The retailer has also decided to limit the number of items shoppers can have in their online basket to 80. Whereas prior to the Covid-19 outbreak a typical online order would contain fewer than 60 items, concerns over the shortage of products have led to large shops of more than 100 items.

The new limit will enable Tesco to get more orders onto each van, releasing “significantly more” delivery slots over the coming weeks.  

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