Business Secretary: ‘Please shop as you would normally shop’

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Buisness Secretary Alok Sharma has urged consumers to “shop as you would normally shop” as supermarkets take steps to ensure shelves remain full during the coronavirus crisis.

The recent panic-buying phenomenon has left food stores empty of aisles worth of household essentials since the Covid-19 situation escalated in the UK.

Now supermarkets have even begun rationing the sale of certain products, with Sainsbury’s become the first to apply nationwide limits.

Customers will only be able to buy a maximum of three of any grocery product and a maximum of two on the most popular items such as toilet roll, soap and UHT milk from today onward.

It has also introduced a weekly “silver hour” when all of its stores will only be open to elderly and vulnerable people for the first hour of trading on Thursdays.

Meanwhile, Tesco has announced that all of its 24-hour stores will now be cutting opening hours to 6am-10pm.

Mr Sharma told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer he thought retailers were taking “proportionate measures”.

He said: “The key thing that people want to know is, is the supply chain resilient, will the shelves be restocked and I have confidence that that is absolutely what will happen.”

In a bid to ensure that retailers are able to restock, the government has authorised a temporary relaxation, until April 16, of delivery drivers’ hours rules to help transport goods to stores across the country.

The Cabinet minister concluded: “I completely understand that individual supermarkets will be taking particular actions but the vast majority of people will be behaving very sensibly.

“My advice to everyone who is listening to your show is please shop as you would normally shop and we will find that the shelves indeed are full.”

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