Booker has announced a number of restrictive measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The market leading wholesaler said it will change its trading hours, restrict customers and bar children at its depots.
“At Booker, we have been doing everything we can to keep business as usual, but we now have to accept it is not business as usual,” said Charles Wilson, chief executive.
Wilson said the “significant and prolonged increases in demand” over the last two weeks has led to shortages in some products for some of its customers.
“In order to protect the core range, we are going to implement some changes in our branches. The changes are designed to simplify what we do so that we can provide more of what you need to operate your business in a clean and safe environment,” he added.
All Booker and Makro branches will open as usual but close at 3 pm from Monday to Friday and at 2 pm on Saturday. The branches will remain closed on Sundays.
Entry will be limited to retail and catering businesses till 11 pm. Small business users can access the branches after 11 am.
Children under 16 will no longer be allowed into the branches. Booker requested customers to limit persons who shop per customer card to two, including the named card holder, and at the branch they usually use.
The wholesaler is also implementing a ‘social distancing’ policy, asking customers try to stay a trolley length apart from each other.
There will be restrictions on some lines such as bread, milk, anti-bacterial products, paper, dried pasta and some cleaning products.
Booker has also suspended its delivery service to any new customers.
“If you could help us by limiting demand of essential items and allowing us to focus on the core needs of you, our customer – we are confident that we can continue to help you run a sustainable and profitable business,” Wilson said.