Aldi is putting traffic lights at store entrances as a new way of limiting shopper numbers during the coronavirus crisis.
The lights turn from red to green when the next customer can enter, and control the number inside based on the store’s capacity and two-metre social distancing guidelines.
The automatic doors only open when the lights are green.
The lights are rolling out at Aldi stores nationwide from this week, following a trial in 10 branches.
NHS and blue-light workers are encouraged to go to straight to the front of the queue and other customers are asked to respect their priority access, Aldi said.
Stores are also encouraging one customer per trolley where possible.
“The protection and safety of our customers and employees is our top priority and this new system is an accurate and effective way to allow us to control customer numbers in stores,” said Aldi communications director Richard Thornton.
“The system’s trial was well received by our customers and we will be gradually rolling this new social distancing measure out nationwide from this week.”
Several other supermarkets are exploring new technologies to manage customer flow into stores in preparation for long-term social distancing measures.
Asda last week revealed it was trialling a virtual queueing system at a supermarket in Leeds to allow customers to log in to the queue remotely and wait in their car to enter the store.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Costa and Greggs are also understood to be looking into virtual queueing and automated customer counting systems as part of options to reduce queues and costs.