Morecambe postmen banned from town’s Iceland store during NHS hour

Hard working postmen delivering letters and parcels during the coronavirus pandemic were unable to shop in Iceland in Morecambe during NHS hour because they aren’t ‘key workers’.

By Michelle Blade
Monday, 4th May 2020, 4:01 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 4:02 pm

Postman Matthew Tucker, 43, said: “It was 4.30pm so I went to Iceland after work and the guy there said ‘you can’t come in, you’re not an NHS worker.

“I said ‘I’m a key worker. It got my back up. I was really angry. The shop was empty.

“On another occasion I went in and spoke to the manager and he said it was a nationwide NHS hour they were doing.

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Postmen were banned from Iceland store in Morecambe during NHS hour because they are not 'key workers.'

“It’s not very nice and it’s happened to a couple of posties.

“I’ve got three children and when I want to get food for my children I should be able to.

“I went to Asda to do my shopping.

“There was one lady in the shop who showed her NHS card and went in and as she was coming out she looked embarrassed at what was happening.

“They are losing money. I go there on a daily basis.

“It’s a disgrace. My wife Jennifer was disgusted as well.

“No-one could believe it. There are three of us this has happened to.

“I kind of thought I was a key worker, wearing my uniform, just let me in.”

“I’ve worked for Royal Mail for ten years and I consider myself a key worker. It’s not just the NHS.”

At the moment Matthew says he is walking 12 miles a day on his round in Morecambe and normally there are two postmen in the van, with one delivering parcels and the other delivering mail.

But Matthew said: “Now we are not allowed to share a van so I walk out one day and the next next day there is double the amount of mail and parcels to deliver.”

Another postman Paul Wood, who has worked for Royal Mail for 22 years, said: “It was a week before this happened to Matthew and I wasn’t in my uniform because it was my day off.

“I was told it was NHS only so I went to Home Bargains instead.

“I came back and the girl on the till said there was no-one in the shop.

“It was empty. I’m disappointed really, I could understand if it was very full of customers but it was empty.”

A spokesman for Iceland Foods Ltd said: “Our Morecambe store continues to hold an ‘NHS hour’ each day from 4pm to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, when priority access is reserved for NHS staff, other healthcare and social care workers.

“While we are hugely appreciative of the efforts being made by other key workers including postal staff, delivery drivers, farm and food factory workers, and indeed those working in retailing, we cannot realistically invite them all to participate in a single priority hour, nor are we able to set aside other priority hours in what is already a reduced trading day.

“However, if the ‘NHS hour’ is genuinely as quiet as you suggest, other key workers should make themselves known to the store management and they will do their best to assist them.”