SUPERMARKETS will be able to get deliveries through the night to stop shelves going bare because of coronavirus panic buying.
The Government today announced it will extend the hours for supermarkets to stock up as fears over the virus grow.
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It comes after crunch meetings between the Environment Secretary George Eustice and leading supermarkets.
The plans will help supermarkets fight back against panic buying, and help them replenish their shelves outside normal hours.
Mr Eustice said: “We have listened to our leading supermarkets and representatives from across the industry, and we are taking action to support their preparations.
“By allowing night time deliveries to our supermarkets and food retailers we can free them up to move their stocks more quickly from their warehouses to their shelves.
“Our retailers have well-established contingency plans in place and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need.”
Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, welcomed the plans.
He said: “We welcome all efforts by government to provide supermarkets with greater flexibility in the way they supply their stores.
“While there is plenty of stock available, the challenge for retailers has been to make sure all of it reaches shelves at the earliest opportunity.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons earlier: “Acting too early creates its own risks.
“We will make the right choices of what to do at the right moment.
“We will do what is right to keep people safe.”
He insisted that “food supply will continue, even in our worst case scenario” – and stressed that Parliament should stay open too.
A Government source said earlier: “If you look at the countries which went quite quickly, you have seen fatigue already and people saying they don’t want to do it anymore.”
What should I do to stop the spread of coronavirus?
- Self-isolate for 14 days if you return from an affected country where the area is on lock-down
- Stay at home if you have flu-like symptoms after coming back from any affected country
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds more frequently than usual
It comes as shoppers complained of delays almost a week long for online groceries as delivery slots sell out due to people stockpiling over coronavirus fears.
The Sun found delivery slots at Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury's, and Tesco had sold out until the end of the coming week at some addresses, while shoppers are also complaining of delays on social media.
At Asda, we found no delivery slots until Thursday March 12 using one east London and one West Sussex postcode.
While at Morrisons, there was no delivery available until Saturday March 14 at the same east London postcode, and none for the whole of March at one Brighton postcode.
At Ocado, the same east London postcode didn't have deliveries until Thursday March 12.
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