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UK woman with vision disability turned away from supermarket over single shopper policy

blind woman with guide dog in the street

On January 18, Emma Glossop, who is partially sighted, and her mother, Kathleen, went to their Sainsburys store in Sheffield to do their shopping, just like they had the week before….and the week before that. But this time was different. Both women were denied access due to its single shopper policy, despite having shopped together there just the week before.

Glossop relies on her mother’s assistance for shopping because of her visual disability.

Staff told the women that only one shopper was allowed in at a time because of the latest lockdown.

Glossop did tell staff that she and her mother lived in different houses; she claimed it was then that staff informed the pair that they could not shop together. Glossop added that she wasn’t given the opportunity to explain to staff that she and her mother are in their own COVID-19 bubble, as permitted by pandemic rules, and that she required her mother’s help with shopping.

“I’m partially sighted and my mum has a heart condition, so we’ve always done our shopping together so we can help each other out if needed,” said Glossop, who is registered disabled.

“We go to Sainsbury’s together every week, but this morning they told us we couldn’t go in together and we didn’t even get to explain about our circumstances. They told us they’d been instructed not to let two people in together, but they were letting couples in together. We understand there’s a pandemic on, and we’ve always adhered to the rules.”

Many big name supermarkets have implemented stringent policies amid rising infection rates and hospitals being overwhelmed, such as single shoppers only and banning customers without face masks and no exemption proof.

After reaching out to the store regarding Glossop’s experience, a Sainsbury’s spokeswoman stated, “Safety is our highest priority, and we’re asking everyone to shop alone where possible so that we can serve our customers as quickly and safely as possible. We understand this may not always be possible and ask customers to let a colleague know if they are exempt. We hope to welcome Emma back in store soon.”

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