Essential shopping list: The items shoppers should have in their essential shop basket

Britons have been told they must stay indoors, unless they are exercising once a day, caring for a vulnerable person, or doing essential shopping. But what constitutes an essential shop – what should Britons be thinking about when they decide if a shop is essential or not? Whether you shop at Tesco, Asda, Aldi, Morrisons, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose or M&S, the qualifications of what makes a shop essential are the same.


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While the official advice is to use a home delivery service where possible, in reality many are finding it impossible to get a delivery slot with any supermarket.

Vulnerable people who are getting delivery or help from relatives & friends have been offered some advice, and the government has shared some key things to remember:

  • Stay at least two metres (three steps) away from the people helping you
  • Make sure you trust the people helping you

However, what about those who cannot get home delivery and are having to go to the shop?

There are some things to think about when deciding if it is necessary to leave the house for “essential” shopping.

With no official advice, Britons must use their common sense.

Is it urgent? Do you really need this item now, or could it wait a few days and be purchased as part of one big shop? Urgent items mean different things for different people, but items such as baby milk would be one example, whereas a herb or spice to make a dish complete would not.

Will not having this item risk my health? This would cover items such as medication or sanitary products.

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Is it possible to purchase this item online? While delivery slots are proving hard to get, they should be possible to secure some weeks in to the future. Could the item wait until then? Or is there a company offering postal delivery who you could purchase it from? Even if it is a little more expensive, ordering online and avoiding a trip outside will help to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Those who cannot get outside must turn to online shopping and delivery – but all supermarkets are overloaded with demand.

However, one man has shared a special website that vulnerable people can use and always get a slot.

The government has provided support via a link, and one vulnerable man claims he has finally got a delivery slot after filling in the online form.


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The man, who shared his story with but wished to remain anonymous, had been struggling to book a delivery slot with supermarkets for days.

He was desperate, rationing his small supply of food and sharing with his dog who was also running out of food.

After filling in a link on the government website, he found slots at all stores.

He told “The gov posted this link yesterday I filled it out last night this morning I was able to go on to all stores to put order in.”

The link,, takes you to a page that reads: “Get coronavirus support as an extremely vulnerable person.”

It went on: “Register if you have a medical condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. For example, you’ll be able to ask for help getting deliveries of essential supplies like food.

“If you’re not sure whether your medical condition makes you extremely vulnerable, register anyway.

“This service is free. You can register yourself, or for someone else.”

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