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Dear constituent

I am writing to you with a couple of further updates.

I am attaching a note from the Chancellor outlining the measures to help protect jobs which he announced last night. I know that there remains considerable concern among the self-employed, and I am assured that the Treasury is looking at further measures to help the self-employed. I will keep you posted.

I am also including below a note that I have received from the Chief Executive of Sainsburys this morning. I hope this provides some clarity about how they are planning to handle things next week. I would urge everyone to respect these special arrangements. In particular we need to ensure that the elderly and workers in the NHS are able to get their shopping done in a safe environment. And please remember also to support our smaller, local shops.


Dear Chris,

I wanted to write to you again to update you on the steps we are taking to make sure everyone has access to food and essential items. I’m also sharing more information about how we are supporting our colleagues in these challenging times and how you can help.

An increasing number of you have told me that you’re not always able to get the items that you need when you need them. We are working with our suppliers to get even more stock of essential items and we are adding warehouse capacity on a daily basis. You will have seen that we put restrictions in place this week to ensure that more products are on shelf for longer. From Monday 23rd March, we are consolidating our opening hours and all our supermarkets will be open from 8am to 8pmMonday-Saturday, including those with an Argos store. Sunday opening, Sainsbury’s Local and petrol station opening times will stay the same.

This means we can focus our store colleagues’ time on keeping shelves stocked and serving our customers well during the times that most of you are already shopping.

Last Thursday, we set aside an hour for elderly and vulnerable shoppers in our supermarkets. Many of you have told me how much you appreciated this and that you would like this to become a regular event. Some of you also said we should extend this to members of our hardworking NHS and Social Care workers. And we will be doing just that.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, all our supermarkets will dedicate 8am – 9am to serving elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers, as well as NHS and Social Care workers. They will just need to show us their pass or ID when they visit. Some of you fed back that you couldn’t find what you wanted during that hour, so we will try our best to have essential items on shelf for these customers. We will be working to keep our shelves well stocked and would encourage customers to arrive throughout the hour to prevent queues forming and to help everyone keep a safe distance.

Hundreds of you have written to me to thank our amazing colleagues who are working around the clock to serve our customers. A number of you have also shared your concerns for the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues. I want you to know that we are doing all we can to support everyone who works in our business. We have committed to paying all colleagues who are unwell or need to self-isolate for the full period of fourteen days. We have also committed to paying vulnerable and elderly colleagues in full if the government decides they should isolate for 12 weeks. We hope this will go some way to helping our teams through this uncertain time and we are looking at other ways to thank our colleagues for their extraordinary efforts.

To keep our colleagues safe, I need to ask again for your help. Please do your best to stand one metre away from colleagues in our stores where you can. And we would prefer you to pay with card rather than cash at our tills. Please also treat our colleagues and other customers with kindness and respect. These are unprecedented circumstances and our colleagues are being asked to come to work every day while so many others are being asked to stay at home. We all need them to keep coming to work to feed the nation – a small thank you goes a really long way.

I hope you will join us in looking out for each other and the communities that we serve.

Best wishes

Mike Coupe

Chief Executive, Sainsburys


A reminder of the contact details if you need help locally:

For the elderly:

Age Concern Epsom & Ewell – 01372 732 456

Age Concern Mole Valley – 01306 899104

Age Concern Banstead – 01737 352156

Surrey County Council’s helpline for people needing help more broadly. They will provide information about where to get help. The number is 0300 200 1008

Worried residents can also visit the dedicated Surrey County Council Coronavirus website for community support for more information.


If you want to volunteer to help one of the local charity services, here’s who you need to get in touch with:

In Epsom and Ewell and Mole Valley, contact Central Surrey Voluntary Action on 01372 722911

In Reigate and Banstead, contact Voluntary Action Reigate and Banstead on 01737 763156

Please get a takeaway from one of our local restaurants this evening if you can. We need to help support them at this difficult time. And please, though I know it is difficult, do your best to follow the Government’s guidance on what to do during the current crisis. This is really important in reducing the risk to those who are most vulnerable in our society. The latest guidance is at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

With best wishes