Boots shoppers may be restricted from browsing non-essential items as part of plans to safeguard staff and stick to Government guidelines as the coronavirus crisis continues.

The pharmacy chain - which has stores across the country - has now introduced social distancing, but has explained that, in some branches, customers may have to state what they wish to shop for before entering the store, or be restricted to essential items only.

  • Non-essential items and prioritisation of goods

Those shopping for non-essential items could potentially be turned away. Meanwhile, staff members could help you to find essential items such as medicine, allowing you to go straight to the till to pay for the products.

However, Boots has explained that, if a customer does want to pick up other products from its self-service area whilst already there, then - in the majority of cases - they should be able to do so.

But, in some stores, the chain has started to cordon off areas in order to enable it to prioritise the sale of essential goods, including medicines, toiletries and prescriptions.

Herald Series: SHOPPING: A branch of Boots. Picture: NewsquestSHOPPING: A branch of Boots. Picture: Newsquest

  • Which stores are affected?

Boots has not yet specified how many of its stores have introduced this new policy. The chain has said that this will depend on the size and staff resources that it has available.

A spokesperson for Boots said: "We have been doing everything we can to keep our stores open, ensuring all communities have access to a pharmacy and customers can get the essentials that they need.

"We are prioritising the sale of essential medicines, prescription and toiletry items both in store and online.

"Our premium beauty counters are now not staffed, however if a customer wishes to pick up some additional products from our self-service area whilst in the store, then they should normally be able to do so."

  • A ‘thank you’ to staff

Boots also recently introduced the use of equipment including perspex screens and visors in order to help protect both staff and customers.

Tracey Clements, chief operating officer for Boots UK, thanked all of the staff for the "amazing care and commitment they are showing".

In a statement, Ms Clements said: "I know that this is a difficult time and we are doing all we can to make sure our colleagues have the NHS-recommended PPE available, alongside extra Perspex and plastic screening and social distancing equipment they can use.

"We have over 60,000 colleagues and we are doing whatever we can to protect them whilst they work on the frontline of healthcare.”