A trip to the shops is completely different since the pandemic began
Many things have changed since the outbreak of coronavirus around the world.
Meeting up with friends and family in some areas is now banned, wearing a face mask on public transport - and when shopping - is now a requirement and going out past 10pm is a no go. There have been many changes in our lives since lockdown was introduced and one of the main ones has been how we shop.
Due to ever-changing government restrictions, the spread of coronavirus getting worse in some areas and people 'panic-buying', there have been a number of ways supermarkets have adapted to make shopping safe and easy.
Despite that, shopping at supermarkets is as stressful as ever and long gone are the days where you can have a casual walk round and bump into your friend and have a chat across the tills.
Here is how shopping in a supermarket has changed since the COVID pandemic:
This was put up in Tesco at Cheshunt Brookfield to make people follow the one-way aisles
Arguably the best thing about shopping before lockdown was being able to do what you want. Walk in any entrance, run in for just a few things or even go in without a shopping list - these are definitely things you should now tend to avoid.
Now, in the majority of shops, there are one-way systems which you have to follow.
This means only being able to go down aisles one way, having an entrance and exit in the same door and having to follow a route to get to the tills in some cases.
The most annoying thing about this is that some shoppers either don't understand or tend to ignore it - despite it being there to help protect us all.
Tesco are one of many companies that have not reintroduced the one-way system, but have stickers or floor markings to help.
Face masks or coverings
A shopper wearing a face mask in a supermarket (Image: Victoria Jones/PA Wire)
Face masks have become a big part of our lives due to COVID and now, before you leave to go shopping, it's not 'have I forgotten my wallet or purse?' it's 'have I forgotten my face mask?'. Face masks are a requirement when in indoor shopping settings.
The only people eligible to not wear one are people with underlying health issues like asthma or get anxiety.
Wearing face masks are annoying sometimes but do keep us safe.
Back in March, shopping was a stressful experience (Image: Jonathan Myers)
Every supermarket is different in it's own way, but one thing that has become a guarantee over lockdown is queuing before you go in. We all miss the days where you could just walk straight into a supermarket and even the thought of queuing to get in was ridiculous.
There is a limit on the number of people allowed in most supermarkets now due to keeping everyone safe and this is one of the reasons behind making people queue.
Places like Aldi use an automated 'traffic light system' to indicate when customers can come in. As we enter the winter season, Tesco has said it will offer sanitised umbrellas to those queuing outside if it is raining.
Staying two-metres away from everyone
Clear two-metre separation lines had been placed on the floor across the supermarket
This too is something which has become regular in our daily lives. Staying two-metres away from everyone is advised from the government and some supermarkets. In some cases, like in Sainsbury's stores, to ensure social distancing is followed, people are asked to shop by themselves and only send one adult per household.
In a statement on their website Sainsbury's said: "Please follow official guidelines for your local area and wear a face covering when shopping in our stores in England and Scotland.
"Please try to keep a safe distance from other customers and from our colleagues when you are doing your shop. We have placed clear markings on shop floors to help you know what a safe distance is.
"We are asking everyone to only send one adult per household to our shops. This helps us keep people a safe distance apart and also helps to reduce queues to get into stores."
Buying what you want
There are now signs near the pasta in Tesco reminding people of product limits
Going into the shop and being able to buy what you want has become less and less frequent as lockdown goes on. At the start of lockdown, people started to 'panic buy' which resulted in supermarkets bringing in restrictions on the number of the same products you can buy in one visit. Panic buying also left shops bare which spread panic across the country as people couldn't buy essential items like toilet roll.
Tesco have introduced a three-item limit on some of its products, including flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes.
However, they insist this is a precaution and there are no shortages.
Protection for staff
Now, it would feel weird not going up to a checkout to pay and being met by a member of staff behind a massive sheet of plastic.
This is one of many ways supermarkets have decided to protect their staff a long with them wearing face masks too.
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