Morrisons sparks debate over quiet shopping rules on Saturday and Sunday

The National Autistic Society outline common autism traits

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Morrisons wrote on Facebook: “This week is World Autism Awareness Week. At Morrisons, we continue to support our customers with Quieter Hours, where we make the store environment quieter and calmer for customers with additional sensory needs, like autism. This is by dimming the lights, turning off the music, stopping announcements on the tannoy, reducing the movement of stock cages and turning off noisy machines.

“Our Quieter Hour is held between 9am to 10am on Saturday mornings and the first hour of our store opening on Sunday mornings.“

The National Autistic Society reports around 700,000 people are on the autistic spectrum in the UK, meaning they see, hear and feel the world differently to other people.

The post quickly gained traction with many praising Morrisons for looking out for those with autism. One woman said: “Well done Morrisons. More inclusive than any other store!” Another replied: “Oh wow this is fantastic.”

One man suggested: “There should just be more autistic quieter hours outside the morning slots. 1pm, 4pm, 7pm would definitely be better for me because my sleep patterns are horrific. They should also be every day, and not just Saturdays or Sundays.”

Another woman replied: “There are a lot of autistic children/young adults as well as adults and these people are often at school/colleges during the week. So, an hour on Saturday and Sunday seems reasonable to me.”

A fifth said: “I really appreciate the sentiment, but the one time I went during Quiet Hour, it ended so abruptly and so completely at 10am on the dot.

“The lights came up, the music turned on and the tills started bleeping all at once and it was a bit distressing.

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“Plus, by 10am on a weekend it’s usually getting quite busy and noisy anyway. I’ve found I tend to go later in the evening during a weekday and find it a lot easier to cope with, despite the bright lights and the music.”

One person, who claims to work at Morrisons, said: “I just wish Morrisons would stop doing anything to help anybody as I’m fed up of all the moaning and complaining from the “what about me?” crowd. It’s hard enough for me working in the store without people whinging all the time.”

Morrisons’ ‘Quiet Hour’ initiative was first introduced in 2018 with the support of the National Austistic Society. They carried out trials in three stores and identified improvements that could be made to improve the shopping experience for some customers.

The trial also found that one in five people had a friend or family member with autism.

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