ROMSEY residents are calling on supermarket giants to create more priority delivery slots for vulnerable people in the battle against coronavirus.

The worried shoppers are urging supermarkets to step up their efforts to support vulnerable families who are struggling to buy food, due to the spike in online deliveries amid the pandemic.

One resident claimed it took her nearly “three weeks” to register under Sainsbury’s priority delivery service, forcing her to rely on friends to buy goods.

Alison Collins, who lives in Selsdon Avenue, said: “As a vulnerable adult who has been advised to self-isolate, along with three children, we have been left with no shopping deliveries for almost three weeks due to the surge in requests for online shopping.

“Thousands of vulnerable families and the elderly are in a really awful place right now and need to be made a priority to enable them to have enough food and supplies.

“Many of the elderly who are self-isolating may not even have the internet or the knowledge to wait when slots are released at certain times, so we need to seek out and offer support to them.”

The 35-year-old added she managed to get on the priority slot service, but for three weeks she relied on “friends who were key workers able to go out and help get us things”.

Anna Edwards, who lives in Lincoln Close, said: “I am a registered care home manager at Sunnycroft Care Home and I feel all the delivery slots and times should be given to the vulnerable, including those who are self-isolating on their own.

“I work long hours, sometimes 12 hours a day, and I have to get shopping for my mum and dad who are both 78 and have underlining health problems.

“My mum would not have a clue how to do online shopping and my dad has not even got a computer in his house; they do not live together so I have been dropping food by their doors and stepping back two metres so they can collect it.”

The 42-year-old added: “At work we have had to close the home to visitors and it is quite scary because no one knows what is going to happen.”

Sainsbury’s told the Advertiser they contacted “270,000 customers” who had been identified as elderly or vulnerable, adding they are able to give an “additional 8,000 customers a day access to delivery slots over the phone”.

A spokesperson from Waitrose said: “From March, 27 we started taking the first steps in giving our elderly and vulnerable customers priority access to at least a quarter of our future online shopping deliveries.”

Chief executive officer of Tesco, Dave Lewis, said: “We’re doing everything we can to increase the number of slots available and to support vulnerable people.

“Through a series of measures including more drivers, pickers and vans, we’ll expand the number of slots available each week; but this still isn’t enough to meet the demand.”

A spokesperson from Iceland, said: “We are endeavouring to restrict the booking of online delivery slots to the elderly, vulnerable and people who are self-isolating.”

A spokesperson from Morrisons said they introduced a new range of “simple-to-order food parcels, including options for vegetarians, from March 23rd" to support vulnerable people.

Asda stressed it was “absolutely something we are looking at, but until we can identify who those vulnerable people are it is not something we can do”.

They added they are waiting to receive data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to create these delivery slots.