Morrisons has announced plans for an emergency expansion of its online delivery service as it responds to the coronavirus crisis ourbreak.
The move includes the launch of new food parcels to allow families to stock up in self-isolation.
It is part of a package of measures from the supermarket, including a new offer of help for workers hit by the crisis. It comes as online services struggle to cope with demand because of the outbreak.
The new food parcels will be available from 23 March, aimed at families in self-isolation or socially distancing themselves. They will provide everyday staples that Morrisons said would be simple to order. Vegetarian options will be available.
The supermarket said it would be making more delivery slots available to customers on Morrisons.com and the Morrisons Store on Amazon Prime Now. An additional 100 stores would be used to pick customers’ shopping over the coming weeks.
Morrisons is also launching a customer call centre for orders to be taken over the phone so people who do not shop online can still have food delivered. The move involves a major recruitment push to hire about 2,500 pickers and drivers.
A further 1,000 people are being recruited to work in the company’s distribution centres, with the jobs to be advertised on radio and social media channels as well morrisons.jobs.
Today Morrisons also revealed it had launched a new hardship fund to help colleagues hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
With retailers and suppliers bracing themselves for a major impact to the workforce, the supermarket said it wanted to support colleagues who were thrown into financial difficulty.
Staff will be able to apply for funds if they experience a financial setback and are “struggling to make ends meet”.
Morrisons said staff who were sick with the coronavirus would receive sick pay whether or not they would normally be eligible.
“We expect the days, weeks and months ahead to be very testing and we are determined to do our bit,” said Morrisons CEO David Potts,
“These measures will support our very hard-working colleagues, enable us to provide more food to more people in their homes and create opportunities for people whose jobs are affected by the coronavirus.”