Lidl, Morrisons and Sainsbury's among supermarkets to install protection screens at store checkouts

Lidl is to install protective screens at the checkouts of its stores (Getty Images)

It is one of the few essential businesses that remains open in the UK amid the lockdown instigated by the coronavirus outbreak.

However, Lidl is one of several supermarkets taking extra steps to ensure both its customers and staff stay safe - by installing protective screens at the checkouts of all its stores throughout the country.

The new measure is intended to provide “extra reassurance” to those shopping and working on its premises.

Christian Härtnagel, CEO of Lidl GB, said: “The safety of our colleagues and customers continues to be a key priority for us, which is why all of our stores here in Great Britain will be fitted with protection screens at checkouts.

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

Explained: Symptoms, latest advice and how it compares to the flu

“We hope that this additional safeguard will help to provide extra reassurance for those both working and shopping in our stores.

“We are eternally grateful to all of our store teams who are working hard every day to support their communities. And, we would once again like to thank customers for their consideration during this very challenging time.”

The supermarket currently has 800 stores in the UK, and last week announced that it was creating up to 2,500 more jobs to meet demand brought on by the pandemic.

Yesterday, it was revealed that Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Aldi will also be putting up protective screens.

Read more: People are being urged to stop buying dairy and gluten-free foods unless they need them

David Potts, the chief executive for Morrisons, told The Guardian that they had hired 83 fitting teams to instal them with urgency.

He said: “The wellbeing of colleagues is paramount.”

The supermarket has also placed hand sanitiser at every till and has marked out areas on its floors so people can maintain social distancing.

Sainsbury’s is also asking customers to use cards at its tills and cash at self-service checkouts.

Read more: This top-rated slow cooker will make mealtime easy

Meanwhile, Waitrose has introduced new "two-metre marshalls" to tell people to stand further apart if necessary, and may operate a one-in one-out policy depending on how busy their stores get.

They have also ordered special protective visors for staff who wish to use them, and are operating fewer tills to maintain social distancing between employees.

Tesco had added tape to its floors to encourage shoppers to maintain social distancing.

Many retailers have asked customers to stand at least a metre away from staff, and the contactless spending limit has also been raised to £45 per transaction.

Read more: The foods being ignored by UK coronavirus panic-buyers

However, there have been increasing worries that shop workers, who are encountering hundreds of people a day, aren’t being adequately protected.

Paddy Lillis, the general secretary of the shop workers’ union Usdaw, said: “We have increasing concerns about the safety and welfare of staff in stores.

“The scenes in stores over the weekend and behaviour of some customers mean that supermarkets need to go further to protect the health, safety and welfare of shop workers.

“We are calling on retailers to continue to improve their stores and procedures to help protect staff.”

A petition for masks and gloves to be supplied has been signed by more than 3,000 supermarket workers on employee campaigning platform Organise.