Government to extend night-time delivery hours in coronavirus response

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The government has agreed to work with local authorities to extend delivery night-time delivery hours for food retailers to help the industry respond to coronavirus.

The new measures will mean that food retailers will be able to increase the frequency at which they receive deliveries from their suppliers.

The new measures are the result of a call between the Environment Secretary George Eustice and top UK supermarkets, for a relaxation on curfews would help retailers respond to the increased demand for deliveries due to the coronavirus.

The current law in place prevents delivery drivers during the night to avoid disturbance to residents.

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 and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, 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.

“It is essential that government continues to engage on other ways to alleviate the challenges for retailers.”

The government is also looking closely at measures to ensure supply chains continue to function as normal.

These rules would help the industry respond to any shortage of delivery drivers but would still require 45 minute breaks after four and a half hours of driving to make sure drivers are properly rested.

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