South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has written to supermarket chiefs to ask them to prioritise grocery delivery slots for high-risk customers. Her call comes following complaints that vulnerable people who are self-isolating at home can’t get any bookings before mid-April and some supermarkets have even stopped taking on new delivery customers altogether.
The SNP MSP asked questions in parliament this week about the failure of most supermarkets to prioritise home delivery. Now she has sent letters to the Chief Executives of all the Supermarkets that deliver across her South Scotland region, as well as bosses of the Scottish Retail Consortium, to ask them to do more to help those whose lives may be in danger if they contract COVID-19. At-risk people include the elderly, cancer patients and people who have received transplants and have supressed immune systems.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“I can’t praise supermarket staff highly enough – And it’s good that some slots have been set aside for the elderly and carers. But many customers in the very high-risk groups and who are self-isolating at home would prefer to stay indoors. They are being forced to leave their homes because they can’t get delivery slots.
“Some of the supermarkets have completely closed their delivery services to new customers and have put up notices on their websites saying only existing delivery customers can make bookings. This means, for example, that an eighty year old cancer patient is unable to use the service while a healthy person in their thirties can, simply because they’ve used the service previously.
“When I heard about the Morrison’s home delivery grocery box for £30, I hoped it might be accessible to vulnerable people but when I visited their website to find out more I was told there was a queue with 174,535 users.
“I’ve therefore written to the bosses of all the main supermarkets to ask them to do more to help. The last few weeks have been a retail bonanza for the supermarkets, there’s no doubt they’re making a fortune from the corona crisis as they pick up business from outlets that have closed, for example in clothing. So the least they can do is invest a bit more in their online services to make sure the most at-risk in our society get the protection they need to survive it. The more we can all work together to help vulnerable people stay at home the more lives we will save.”