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Morrisons is set to introduce an early morning 'quiet hour' on Saturdays for shoppers who have autism and don't like to be around too much noise.
From 9am to 10am every Saturday the supermarket will lower its lights and quieten tills and self-service checkouts, in a move that autism campaigners have called a 'step in the right direction'.
All 493 of the chain's UK stores will introduce the new measures following a successful trial aimed at autistic customers and those who have children with autism, as well as people with other conditions that need a more calm and relaxed shopped environment.
As well as having lower lighting and no machines screaming 'UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA', the stores won't be playing music or using the public address system, and trolley and basket movement will be 'kept to a minimum'.
Customers entering the store would be reminded that it was 'quiet hour' via posters placed outside.
The new scheme was created with help from the National Autistic Society, which says that some people living with autism can find being in a supermarket stressful due to sensory overload, such as loud noises and bright lights.
Daniel Cadey from the charity said: "Around 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK.
"This means they see, hear and feel the world differently to other people, often in a more intense way.
"Morrisons' 'quieter hour' is a step in the right direction for autistic people who find supermarket shopping a real struggle."
A trial earlier this year in three Morrisons' stores - Woking, Lincoln and Gainsborough - proved a big hit with customers, with one in five customers saying they had a family member or friend with autism who would likely appreciate the chance to shop in a stress-free environment.
Angela Gray, community champion at Morrisons in Woking, said: "I was involved in the initial trial as my son is autistic and we found that these changes made a real difference.
"The trial showed there is a need for a quieter shopping experience for some customers."
Source: The Grocer
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