Tesco has introduced strict new measures to prevent overcrowding in stores, in a bid to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

Shoppers at Helston Tesco yesterday could be seen queuing outside the store waiting to go in, with staff limiting the amount of customers inside at any one time.

Those queuing were placed two metres apart, to comply with social distancing rules.

It came on the same day that Tesco's chief executive Dave Lewis sent an email to customers detailing the new measures.

These included floor markings in car parks to help shoppers maintain safe distances when queuing, with staff limiting the flow of people coming into stores, where necessary, to ensure they don’t get too congested.

There are also new markings at checkouts to make sure customers kept a safe distance and protective screens for staff were being installed.

Hand sanitisers are being placed around stores for customers and staff to use, as well as extra cleaning products to wipe down trolleys and basket.

In some stores there will be directional floor markings and new signage, to create a safe flow of shoppers around the store, and where possible separate entrances and exits to the store will be introduced.

The three-item limit for any product across the store will continue, to help make sure everyone has access to everyday essentials, with double the usual amounts of these items being delivered every day.

NHS staff will continue to be able to select their shopping on Sundays for an hour before checkouts open and this will be extended to extra days next week.

Elderly customers can shop exclusively at the store between 9am and 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

With online shopping delivery slots at full capacity for the next few weeks, Mr Lewis asked everyone who could safely shop in store to do so, in order to free up more slots for the more vulnerable.

Where possible, customers are asked to pay by card and ideally contactless, and take no more than one person with them to shop.

An additional 20,000 temporary new staff members were being recruited, added Mr Lewis.

He admitted that not everything had gone "to plan" but praised the work of staff in challenging circumstances.

Mr Lewis said: "Our colleagues have risen brilliantly to the challenges of recent days, but this challenge is unprecedented and inevitably, despite our hard work and best intentions, not everything has or will go exactly to plan.

"But we’ll take learnings, we’ll be informed by the latest guidance from the government, and we’ll keep going."

Sainsbury's is also limiting the number of people allowed in stores and at ATMs at any one time.

Queue systems will be in place outside stores and customers will be asked to queue at a distance of two metres.

Customers buying petrol will be asked to pay at the pump where they can.

The company is reducing the number of checkouts open in supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol filling stations to help colleagues and customers keep a safe distance from each other.

Safety screens are also being introduced at every manned checkout.

The store is also regularly sanitising all customer areas including chip and pin machines, baskets and trolleys.

And Asda is putting extra staff at the front of our stores, new barriers will guide customers in and through shops anddistance floor-markers will remind shoppers to keep two metres from others.

Perspex screens will soon be fitted at checkouts and some Scan and Go tills will be closed to help maintain distances.