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Can you take your child to the supermarket during lockdown?

PUBLISHED: 14:18 10 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:42 15 April 2020

The Leiston Co-op in Sizewell Road has hit back at claims they are discriminating against single parent families. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The Leiston Co-op in Sizewell Road has hit back at claims they are discriminating against single parent families. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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Single parents in Suffolk claim they have been left in an impossible situation after claims that some supermarkets stopped children entering their stores.

A staff member at Tesco in Saxmundham has confirmed that single parent families and their children are welcome in the store. Picture: GOOGLE MAPSA staff member at Tesco in Saxmundham has confirmed that single parent families and their children are welcome in the store. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

At one supermarket in Leiston there was confusion after an incident between a customer and a queue marshall, with complaints made that the shop was forbidding people with children from entering.

Many supermarkets have now introduced rules meaning only one person per household may shop at any one time to make social distancing more effective, however, for single parents this leaves them in an impossible position because they cannot leave their children with friends or relatives.

An East of England Co-op spokesman apologised for the confusion caused and said: “We’re sorry for the upset this has caused.

“At no point have we asked our stores to stop parents with children from entering so it is unclear why this has happened. We’ve issued updated guidance to all our stores and queue marshalls to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

With delivery slots booked weeks in advance, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for one parent families to get what they need.

A single mother in Stowmarket posted on Facebook about her guilt at having to lock her eight-year-old son in the car whilst she quickly ran to a shop to get one item.

But others with younger children feel they have no choice.

Cherish Green from Sudbury said: “My three year old comes with me. I’ve been to Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

“My daughter usually likes to run off too. However I’ve told her to stay with me and I think she understands. I haven’t got anyone else and it’s not like I can just leave her in the car.”

Beki Gore, a Tesco worker at Sudbury, said: “We are definitely letting single parents with young children, who they are unable to leave at home, bring them shopping as they have no other option.”

The big chain supermarkets were contacted to clarify their stance on the policy.

A spokesman for Waitrose said: “In line with the Government’s guidance on social distancing we’re asking customers to help us manage the number of people in our shops - by sending only one adult of the household to do their shopping, if they possibly can. While this won’t be possible for everybody, we are very grateful for our customers’ support in this difficult situation.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We have not banned children from our stores. To help us maintain safe distances and manage the number of people in store, we’re encouraging our customers to shop, where possible, with no more than one other person. We understand that sometimes our customers will need to bring children with them or shop with a carer and they are, of course, welcome to do so.”

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “There isn’t a formal restriction in place, but we are asking customers to only send one adult per household where they can. This is helping us to serve more households in less time.

“Children are permitted in our stores.”

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