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Which online stores are still delivering?

Mass buying has emptied the shelves in brick-and-mortar supermarkets but some online outlets are still accepting orders. 

At the moment, the key advice from most places is to avoid bulk buying – but there are some big delays on delivery times, as well as some product restrictions in place.

Below, we’ve broken down the current advice from various supermarkets and online delivery service companies, and have highlighted which stores currently have the longest delays.

ASDA

ASDA has introduced new restrictions, which means that customers can only buy three of any item across their entire grocery list.

Because of high demand for online shopping the retailer is now only showing the next two week’s worth of delivery slots. When we checked in London there were no slots available. But this might vary across different regions. In Manchester and Glasgow there are some slots free at the end of that two week period.

The company advises any customers who are self-isolating to let delivery drivers know by leaving a little note in the “any additional comments” section on the delivery page. It’s also asking that people consider going for delivery slots that are at less popular times.

Sainsburys

Sainsburys is prioritising vulnerable and elderly customers, and asking people who physically fit to visit brick-and-mortar shops.

The company has emailed 270,000 customers that it has identified as vulnerable to offer them delivery slots. It’s also working with the government to identify vulnerable customers who should be prioritised for online shopping. If you fall into this category, Sainsburys advises you to register on the government website.

The supermarket has some pretty severe restrictions in place. According to the latest update, customers can only buy “a maximum of three of any grocery product and a maximum of two on the most popular products including toilet paper, soap and UHT milk.”

Related: Digital Wellbeing apps

Like the other supermarkets, Sainsburys is advising any self-isolating customers to leave a note explaining their situation in the delivery instructions, so that drivers can act accordingly.

Because of the current high demand, the supermarket isn’t accepting any new customer registrations. But when we last checked, there were no delivery slots available for Sainsburys over the next three weeks in central London, Birmingham, Manchester or Glasgow.

Tesco

There’s been a huge spike in online shopping for Tesco, which has resulted in a bigger demand for home deliveries. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in very long wait times – we couldn’t see any bookable slots in the next three weeks for a delivery in central London or Manchester, but there were some slots available in two week’s time in Glasgow. As such, the company recommends customers try to head to brick-and-mortar shops, which should free up future delivery slots for the elderly and vulnerable.

As with other retailers, Tesco asks that any self-isolating customers let drivers know by explaining the situation in the delivery notes. Drivers will pack your goods into a plastic bag and drop them off using disposable gloves.

Restrictions-wise, customers can only take three of any item, which includes toiletries, groceries and all other goods. Tesco has also announced new restrictions, saying that orders cannot include more than 80 items overall.

Morrisons

Morrisons has now launched a food box delivery service. Customers can pay £30 for a box of food, which should feed two adults for a week. There’s a £5 delivery charge whacked on top of this, bringing the total to £35.

Currently, there’s only a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian option available. There were also no delivery slots left when we looked, but Morrisons has said that it will release more slots on a rolling daily basis.

The site has introduced a new queuing system, but it also has now delivery slots available. When we viewed the site on 27 March, a message popped up stating: “Please note, unfortunately we currently have no available delivery slots. If you want to edit an order already placed please wait.”

You can still find some Morrisons produce if you look on Amazon’s Prime Now, which has one day delivery options. These delivery slots are released throughout the day, so you might need to check in a few times before you find a slot that’s available.

Just like the other retailers, Morrisons has issued restrictions on a number of items. We’ve emailed the company to ask for more details on this.

As usual, any customers who suspect they have contracted the virus should alert the driver in the additional info slot on the delivery page.

Ocado

Ocado closed its site over the weekend but this has popped back up now. There are still lengthy virtual queues when you manage to log in, which can take four hours to clear. At present, the company isn’t accepting new customers, so only previous buyers will be able to join that queue.

Even if you get to the front of that queue there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get a delivery slot. The company is currently only displaying the next three days for delivery, and if there isn’t any availability in that period then you can’t book a slot. When we checked there were no available delivery times for central London.

There are certain item restrictions in place too. A statement on the site reads: “To help with fair distribution, we’ve temporarily limited products such as antibacterial handwash, hand sanitiser, antibacterial cleaning sprays and wipes, tissues, toilet roll and kitchen roll to one or two items per order.”

Similarly to other retailers, Ocado has asked customers who are self-isolating to let the company know via the driver notes section. These customers are asked to remain inside while the driver leaves items on the doorstep, who will then phone to let you know the items have been unloaded.

Amazon

On 17 March, Amazon confirmed that it was halting shipment of all non-medical or non-essential supplies in the US and EU marketplaces until April 05. Those rules shouldn’t apply to Amazon Fresh, though, as groceries are counted as essential items.

Related: Tech hacks to help you stay healthy when you’re working from home

Regardless, Amazon Fresh doesn’t seem to have any delivery slots over the next few weeks, even though you can now check for availability over a four-week period. You also need to be a Prime member (£79 for a year) to get Amazon Fresh, which costs £3.99 on top of the membership fee.

Another option is to look at the goods on Prime Now. There’s a smaller selection of food products here and they might not all be in stock – but there’s still a fairly decent range to choose from and there’s one-day delivery to boot. But you will need to be a Prime Member to access this. Delivery slots are rolled out throughout the day, so you won’t always see a slot available.

Deliveroo

The company has been fairly proactive in its approach to the current outbreak. Both customers and riders can opt for contactless delivery, so your delivery guy might choose to leave your food on the doorstep even if you’re not self-isolating. And the takeaway giant has also created a hardship fund for its riders, although this is currently only accessible to those who have a certified sick note.

“The safety of our riders and customers is our top priority,” said a Deliveroo spokesperson. “That is why we have launched a new, contact-free delivery service. Customers and riders can request in the app that food is left safely on the doorstep. We remain in daily contact with local health officials to make sure we are offering the safest service possible to customers, riders and restaurants.”

Just Eat

Just Eat has also rolled out contactless delivery. Speaking to Trusted Reviews, a spokesperson said: “The health of everyone in the Just Eat community is our highest priority and our approach is guided by government and health authority advice in every market where we operate.

“We have introduced contactless delivery across our network and continue to share and implement relevant guidance for the restaurants and couriers we work with.”

Uber Eats

People have been leaving notes for Uber Eat drivers for years, suggesting weird places to leave their orders and requesting extra-loud knocks when they’re hard-of-hearing. Anyone who’s self-isolating can use this notes section to let their drivers know about their situation.

Speaking with Trusted Reviews, an Uber Eats spokesperson said: “Safety is essential to Uber and it’s at the heart of everything we do. In response to the ongoing spread of coronavirus, we’ve reminded Uber Eats users that they can request deliveries be left on their doorsteps.

“We’re simultaneously at work on new product features to make this process even smoother, which we hope will be helpful to everyone on the platform in the coming weeks.”

For now, it looks like all the above takeaway services are operating as usual – but supermarkets are still struggling to catch up with online demand.

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