Hours have been changing in the last week or so as the State of Alarm continues, but the most recent update is believed to still be current at the time of publication, and anecdotal evidence shows this information continues to be correct.
Condis supermarkets are giving priority to the over-65s between 09.00 and 10.00 every morning in all its stores, and Carrefour has made the same time slot ‘priority’ for this age group, and will also prioritise the over-65s when dealing with online or telephone orders.
The latter is only for the Madrid region at present but may extend nationwide if the need arises.
El Corte Inglés – the ‘Waitrose of Spain’, which is normally only present in the major cities – attends firstly to those of State pension age between 10.00 and 11.00 in its Hípercor outlets, and between 09.00 and 10.00 in its Supercor stores, as well as offering ‘any other assistance needed’ for this age group such as fetching goods for those who cannot do so themselves.
Caprabo also, personally, helps the over-65s with their shopping if they need it once they are inside the building, and they are able to jump the queue between 09.00 and 10.00.
This also applies to anyone who is younger, but disabled or with restricted mobility.
The same applies in Eroski, in its Eroski hypermarkets, Eroski Center, Eroski City and its Eroski Familia self-service establishments, although on a ‘priority’ rather than an ‘exclusive’ basis.
It also includes the disabled, those of restricted mobility, and pregnant women in this ‘priority access’, and offers personal shopping help to all these groups who require it.
Mercadona initially restricted its opening hours, closing at 20.00 instead of the usual 21.30, but is now shutting at 19.00 – the opening time of 09.00 still applies – and is no longer making home deliveries via internet or telephone; those who want to do their shopping in-store and have it delivered later should check first whether this service still applies.
Consum is open from 10.00 to 20.00, and limits the number of identical products which can be purchased in one hit – so no stockpiling toilet paper – and also limits the number of people allowed inside at any one time, meaning queueing at least one or two metres apart at the entrance may be necessary in smaller stores or at busier times.
Lidl, which typically shuts at 22.00, will now shut at 20.00, and again, limits access – only one person per household is allowed in at any time.
El Corte Inglés is currently open from 10.00 to 20.00, although Supercor opens at 09.00, but warns it may have to make alterations as the State of Alarm progresses.
Carrefour now shuts at 21.00 instead of its usual 22.00 (which extends to 23.00 or midnight in high summer on the coasts).
Alcampo stores vary according to location – as a guide, the branches in Valencia ‘home counties’, in Aldaia and Alboraia, open from 09.00 to 22.00 – but warns its online shopping and delivery service may face ‘alterations’ depending upon the immediate circumstances.
Día stores are now only open from 10.00 to 20.00 nationwide, and Family Cash from 09.00 to 21.30 Monday to Thursday, shutting at the later time of 22.00 on Friday and Saturday.
Family Cash has also restricted what people can buy and its non-grocery hypermarket goods – such as electronics – may not be available; also, limits are placed on how many of each item customers can purchase, numbers of people inside are restricted, and mandatory distances between people have been put in place.
Mas y Mas now shuts at 19.00, and its smaller stores may require customers to use the back entrance where the front is in a corridor.
Here, customers are called in one by one as the last person leaves, except in larger stores at quiet times, and required to remain two metres apart.
All customers in all supermarkets are now required to put plastic ‘fruit-and-veg’ gloves on at the entrance, and in some, including Mercadona, are expected to take a disposable paper towel from a machine, soak it in hand sanitiser from a dispenser on the wall, and wipe their baskets and handles before they shop.
This is not policed as much as it should be, although security guards are now stationed at the entrance.
Other supermarkets have staff disinfecting the pile of baskets at the entrance before and after every use.
Some disinfect the card payment machine after every use – even contactless – and most encourage customers to pay by card or mobile phone rather than cash.
Whilst it is not clear whether the Covid-19 virus can ‘survive’ on banknotes and coins long enough to spread, as a precaution, nearly every establishment in Spain now takes, and actively encourages, card payments.
Stockpiling is strongly advised against – there is no supply issue, delivery drivers are still working and goods are still arriving at the usual rate, so there is no danger of a national shortage; however, bulk-buying depletes the shelves from day to day until the next delivery, meaning other customers have to travel to several supermarkets until they can get what they need, which defeats the object of restricting movement.
Also, as stockpiling nearly always sees supermarket own-branded goods disappear first, as they are cheaper, those who go shopping later end up having to pay vastly more as only the branded goods are available.
It also means having to shop more often, if people can only buy enough for one day because the shelves have been emptied by panic-buyers – and, in practice, trips to the supermarket should be limited to as few days a week as possible.
Anecdotal evidence, however, shows that stockpiling milk, bananas, toilet paper and cooking oil seems to have slowed down and that it is wine and beer which is now being bought in bulk.
Pet-food stockpiling still appears to be happening, which is a worry for customers who arrive after the shelves have been plundered – and is unnecessary since there is no danger of the country running out of animal supplies.
This is especially true in Spain, where the vast majority of produce, packaged or fresh, comes from local or national sources and is not at the mercy of any changes in the import and export industry.