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The government has relaxed restrictions on delivery hours for supermarkets to ensure shelves remain stocked as concerns over stockpiling continue to rise.

Deliveries are ordinarily not allowed at night to minimise noise and disturbance for residents, however, Environment Secretary George Eustice has said that allowing night-time deliveries on a temporary basis would help supermarkets to get products from warehouse to shelves much quicker.

Supermarkets have seen huge demand for items such as toilet roll, hand sanitiser, soap and dried foods such as pasta and rice. Photos have emerged across the country of supermarkets with empty shelves.

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.”

The government stressed that there is no need for the public to stockpile goods, insisting that supply chains are robust enough to meet the challenges of the Coronavirus.

Some supermarkets have introduced sales restrictions on several of the in-demand products, limiting them to no more than five per person. Boots, meanwhile, has introduced a limit of two bottles of hand sanitiser per person.

A survey conducted by Retail Economics estimates one in 10 UK consumers are stockpiling.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “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.”

 

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