Asda denies Covid overcrowding at Doncaster store and blasts claims as 'completely false'

Supermarket giant Asda has hit back at claims of overcrowding at one of its Doncaster stores during the coronavirus lockdown, saying the allegations are ‘completely false.’

Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 10:33 am

Yesterday, local businessman David Plant described scenes of ‘absolute madness’ at the firm’s Lakeside branch, describing the store as being ‘rammed’ with shoppers ignoring social distancing.

And while Asda has dismissed the claims, which included more than 800 people being inside, other shoppers have backed up Mr Plant, describing it as ‘a Covid hotspot’ and ‘dangerous.’

Responding, Asda said the complaints ‘simply aren’t accurate’ and said that at no point since the pandemic began have there ever been anywhere close to 800 people in the store at one time, saying the limit was far lower to comply with social-distancing.

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Asda at Doncaster Lakeside.

A spokesman said: ‘’We have extensive measures in place across all of our stores such as Covid-marshals, protective screens, social distancing signage and numerous hand sanitiser stations. Our customers can rest assured that we continue to follow all government guidance as we have since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.’’

Mr Plant accused Asda of putting ‘profits over people’ in an open letter to store bosses as well as Doncaster MPs Nick Fletcher, Ed Miliband and Dame Rosie Winterton.

He added: “There were no marshalls on the front doors and none throughout the store. There were 8-9 people down every aisle and 10 plus people with trollies queuing for every till.

“Does Asda care about people over profits? When are you going to truly recognise this lockdown like the first one, and put the care of your customers first?”

Asda says it has marshals in place from 8am to 8pm and has a ‘one in, one out’ policy – but says it has never needed to implement it because the store has never reached capacity.

The firm also said that suggestions it was not bothered about customers and staff – some of whom Mr Plant had been told were off with Covid – were ‘completely false.’

But other shoppers backed him.

One said: “Covid hot-spot. No mask enforcement, too crowded, people queuing down aisles,” while another wrote: “It was packed and got worse towards end of shop - felt very uncomfortable.”

And another added: “It’s dangerous. The store is absolutely rammed with loads of people in it.”