Coronavirus: New measures to help maintain UK food supply chain

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government is looking at measures to ensure the food supply chain continues to function as normal
Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government is looking at measures to ensure the food supply chain continues to function as normal

New measures have been announced to maintain the UK's food supply chain in response to coronavirus panic buying.

The government has extended delivery hours for supermarkets and other food retailers to support the industry's response to Covid-19.

Food retailers can increase the frequency of deliveries to their stores and move stocks more quickly from warehouses to replenish shelves.

It follows last week’s call between Defra Secretary George Eustice and leading players in the food industry.



Retailers said a relaxation of curfews would help them respond to the increased consumer demand for some products.

Current rules mean that deliveries are prohibited overnight so that vehicles do not disturb residents.



The government said it will temporarily relax the enforcement of restrictions to give greater flexibility.

Speaking after the call with representatives from across the food supply chain on Monday, Mr Eustice said the government is 'taking action' to support their preparations.

"By allowing night time deliveries to our 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

"I will continue to work closely with them over the coming days and weeks on this," the environment secretary said.

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

The Transport Secretary could implement existing rules that allow for extensions on drivers’ hours to help respond to emergency situations.



Looking at the farming industry in particular, the NFU recently said it is 'currently not aware' of any issues on British farms as a result of coronavirus.