Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and updates

Last updated: 18:00, 3rd April 2020.

The safety and wellbeing of everyone who uses Ocado, both customers and employees, is always our number one priority. We are carefully monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and following the latest advice from the Government and the World Health Organisation.

See below for a more detailed breakdown of what changes are in place. 

You will also find useful information in our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions.

Latest updates:

  • Demand continues to exceed capacity. Our tremendous frontline colleagues delivered more food last week than we have ever delivered to UK homes before. Regardless, demand continues to be 10 times higher than normal and, no matter how hard we work, we simply do not have the capacity right now to meet it. Since Coronavirus arrived, practically every one of the nearly 800,000 active customers we had at the end of 2019, no matter how infrequently they may have shopped previously, now wants to place at least one order every week. At the same time, with families at home all week, the average size of orders has grown more than 50%, meaning fewer orders can be picked and transported. This is a level of demand several times our current capacity. With these new, bigger grocery shops our customers are doing, even running our warehouses 24/7 with new colleagues to support us, we cannot deliver to more than 250,000 homes in any given week.
  • We’re prioritising some customers. We have made the call to prioritise deliveries for some of our customers, particularly our extremely vulnerable customers on the government’s shield list; our longest-standing, most loyal customers; and our colleagues working on the frontline. Customers identified as part of these groups will have received an email. For all remaining Ocado customers (those that haven’t received an email about priority access), we will release any remaining next-day slots after 6pm, beginning on 4th April – but this time may change in the future. Customers should check our FAQs at www.ocado.com/coronavirus for the latest information.
  • Government shield list. We will give priority access to our customers who are on the government’s shield list of extremely vulnerable people. If you’re a customer living in England and you (or somebody in your household) is extremely vulnerable, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable to register onto the government’s list. 
  • Smart Pass refunds. If you are a Smart Pass customer and did not receive an order in March, we are happy to refund your account for this month or donate the money to our food bank charity partners. Please fill out and submit the SmartPass Refund form
  • Ocado Reserved. We are sorry that we have temporarily suspended Ocado Reserved. We’d have loved to have kept it live, however, the unprecedented demand we are experiencing has disrupted the system which had worked successfully for years. Our teams are working to resolve the issue and restore the service as soon as possible. Until then, you will need to book a delivery slot.  
  • Unable to serve new customers. We are currently unable to serve any new customers and we encourage you to get in touch with your regular supermarket for your current grocery needs. 
  • There are a few things we’re suggesting to help us all across the wider community:
    Sharing: If you know someone who can’t get to the shops, consider adding a few items for them to your order. 

    Caring: Shop considerately by only buying what you need. There’s enough for everyone if we all stick to buying what we usually buy. 

    Giving: Did you know you can donate food to those in need through Ocado? Just add a You Give We Give voucher to your shop and we will match your donation so our food bank partners get double the value of fresh groceries – an important essential for everyone at the moment.


Other information:

Deliveries at the door

To help protect both you and our drivers, we are reducing the points of contact when we deliver. Your driver will knock and greet you as normal, but they will then place the bags on your doorstep for you to take inside. They will no longer be carrying them into your home or handing them to you directly. 

If you live in a flat, please note that we will still try to deliver outside the front door of your flat but your driver may call you to ask if they can drop this outside of your building.

Customers will still be able to return substitutions at the door, and ‘Challenge 25’ checks for age-restricted products will continue as normal. 

Please note that our supply chain is not functioning as smoothly as normal, so please be more understanding in accepting substitutions.


Bag recycling paused

Following the latest advice from the World Health Organisation, we have temporarily paused our bag recycling scheme. We are not charging customers for carrier bags during this period.


Please do not hand any used bags back to your driver: they will not be able to take them. We will return to our normal process and restart our bag recycle bonus as soon as we can.


Priority for our existing customers

We have had to temporarily prioritise deliveries for our existing customers so we’re, unfortunately, unable to offer any new customers a delivery slot. 


We’ve also had to take the difficult decision to prioritise deliveries for some of our customers, particularly our extremely vulnerable customers on the government’s shield list; our long-standing, loyal customers; and our colleagues working on the frontline. You will have received an email if you have been identified as part of this group. For all remaining Ocado customers (those that haven’t received an email about priority access) we will release any remaining next day slots after 6pm. But this time may need to change in the future. Customers should check our FAQs at www.ocado.com/coronavirus for the latest information.


App

Due to continued high demand, we have taken our app offline for the time being.


Customer Services

Please see our FAQs at www.ocado.com/coronavirus as you’ll likely find the information you need there. 

If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for, please get in touch with our Customer Services team by filling out our Contact Us form.

We are aware customers are experiencing challenges, particularly with booking delivery slots and accessing our webshop. We are working round the clock to support the exceptionally high level of traffic going through to our Contact Centre.  Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.


Hygiene measures

Ocado is following the relevant guidance from the World Health Organisation, UK Government and medical experts to ensure that we are taking all the necessary safety precautions and reacting swiftly to the Coronavirus (COVID 19) situation as it evolves.

All colleagues have been strictly instructed to stay at home if they, or anyone in their household, develops Coronavirus symptoms. We’ve also purchased COVID-19 testing kits so that all our frontline colleagues can regularly access tests and continue to safely provide a vital service to as many customers as possible.

To ensure the safety of all, we have put in place additional health and hygiene measures in our warehouses and for our drivers on the road. This includes: temperature checks of all staff at the start of every shift; increased supplies of personal hygiene products and stricter cleaning regimes across all sites. As standard practice, our drivers will continue to use alcohol-based cleansing gels and wipes after each delivery.


Product availability

We are experiencing a high demand for certain products at the moment. To help with fair distribution, we’ve temporarily limited certain products to one or two items per order. 

We’ve also reviewed our range to make sure we have everything you need, but have decided to take out a small number of bulky items which reduce the number of orders we can carry in our vans.

To see accurate product availability, please book a delivery slot before adding products to your trolley.


Self isolation 

We are still able to deliver groceries to customers in self-isolation, but with certain restrictions. 

It is essential that you notify us of your situation by leaving a clear message in your driver notes as you check out your order. 

To protect our employees and customers, and to reduce the risk of inadvertently contracting or spreading the infection, drivers will not interact with you directly when they deliver. We ask you to remain inside your home. Our drivers will leave the shopping bags on your doorstep and will call you on the phone once the delivery has been made. If you live in a flat, please note that we will still try to deliver outside the front door of your flat but they may call you to ask if they can drop this outside of your building.

As our drivers will not be able to carry out any ‘Challenge 25’ checks, we will not be able to deliver any age-restricted items while you are in isolation. 

We’re sorry, but since there will not be an opportunity for you to return any substituted products on the doorstep, any substitutes will have to be accepted. After your shopping has been delivered, you will be able to request a refund on any substitutes you did not want – just follow the usual refund process. 

NOTE: Please make sure your contact details, particularly your telephone number, are up to date in your Account Settings. Your driver will need a number to reach you on.


We will, of course, continue to follow all the latest advice from the Government and the World Health Organisation while the situation develops. 

As always, we thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

NOTE: Whilst in place, these measures override the relevant provisions of our Terms & Conditions.