Supermarket delivery slots booked out 'faster than usual' as fears of second lockdown rise

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/24: Delivery man enters a Sainsbury's delivery van as he prepares to deliver groceries purchased online from Sainsbury's supermarket. (Photo by Steve Taylor/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A delivery man enters a Sainsbury's delivery van in May. (Getty)

Supermarkets have reported an increase in demand for their online delivery services following warnings earlier this week that the UK could be set for a second coronavirus lockdown.

Ocado and Sainsbury’s said their delivery slots were being snapped up rapidly this week amid the nationwide rise in COVID-19 cases.

A statement posted on the Ocado’s website this weekend revealed that slots are being booked "faster than usual".

Sainsbury's said it is trying to keep up with "high demand" from online customers, according to The Mirror.

A statement on the Ocado website said delivery slots were 'selling out faster than usual'. (Ocado)
A statement on the Ocado website said delivery slots were 'selling out faster than usual'. (Ocado)

A notice on Ocado's website says: “Delivery slots are selling out faster than usual. If you can't find a slot now, please use the ‘Next 3 days’ button to see available slots further in advance.”

While a statement on Sainsbury's delivery slots page says: “Slots are still in high demand. We have been working hard to expand our service. More slots are now available and we are able to offer some of them to other customers.

Read more: UK supermarkets hire 136,000 staff during pandemic

"Customers who are vulnerable will get priority access and are able to book slots in advance of anyone else. We’re releasing new slots regularly so please check back if you can’t see any available."

Supermarkets were overrun with panic buying in the early stages of the pandemic earlier this year as shoppers emptied shelves.

Tesco was forced to recruit 20,000 temporary staff as demand more than doubled and several other stores expanded their online delivery services.

It comes as health secretary Matt Hancock warned on Sunday that Britain was at a "tipping point" as he refused to rule out a second national coronavirus lockdown.

With cases rising across the country, Hancock said there was a danger the numbers could "shoot through the roof" unless effective action was taken to halt the spread of the virus.

Hancock said that hospital admissions for the disease were doubling "every eight days" and would be followed by an increase in the number of deaths.

"This country faces a tipping point," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"If everybody follows the rules – and we will be increasingly stringent on the people who are not following the rules – then we can avoid further national lockdowns.

"But we of course have to be prepared to take action if that's what's necessary."

Hancock earlier told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: "We will support people who do the right thing and we will come down hard on people who do the wrong thing."

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