Shops providing the country with essential goods have outlined how they plan to keep staff and customers safe during the coronavirus lockdown.

Waitrose has backed the Government’s plea for social distancing with what it calls “a set of strong, new measures” to help its customers shop safely.

The company said the number of customers allowed in at any one time will be limited so that social distancing can be observed, and a “one in, one out” policy will be operated when it is judged that the shop is at capacity.

Customers coming to Waitrose will see marshals who will help to manage queues outside shops and if necessary remind people to respect the two-metre social distancing rule.

Waitrose will dedicate the first opening hour to elderly and vulnerable customers and those caring for them, while NHS staff will continue to be given priority checkout service.

There will also be “safe distance” floor signage, protective screens at checkouts, and additional security.

Morrisons, which has already put up perspex screens, is introducing signage in stores to support social distancing, including floor stickers, posters and banners which will ask customers to keep one trolley distance apart, as well as giving guidance on where to wait and where to queue.