The British supermarket chain Morrisons introduces a quiet hour for shoppers with autism. On Saturday mornings, between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., they will be turning the music off, dimming the lights, and even the sound of check-out beeps will be reduced.
Quiet hour on Saturday mornings
For people who are sensitive to stimuli, like many people with autism and hypersensitivity, a visit to a busy supermarket can be extremely disturbing because of all the loud noises. That is why Morrisons supermarket chain is going to introduce a weekly quiet hour in their British stores.
Every Saturday morning, from 9 to 10, Morrisons stores will dim the lights, turn the music off and check-out beeps down, and avoid using the public address system at all their stores. People entering the stores will be asked to respect the ‘quiet hour’ and staff will encourage shoppers to reduce the movement of trolleys and baskets.
Autism-friendly shopping is gaining momentum
Morrisons will apply the initiative in all 439 of their British stores, with the intention to significantly reduce the number of disturbing stimuli on the shop floor and to create an autism-friendly atmosphere. In that way, both shoppers with autism and families with autistic children will feel more welcome. Other people who are sensitive to stimuli can also benefit from a quieter shopping environment.
According to the British National Autistic Society, this is a step in the right direction for an estimated 700,000 people in the UK with an autism spectrum disorder. Morrisons is the first supermarket chain to implement this idea.;
An autism hour is held every year in the United Kingdom. Last year’s edition was participated in by more than 600 supermarkets from competitor Sainsbury’s. The Entertainer toy shop also has a quiet hour every Saturday morning just after opening hours.