Supermarkets: Opening Hours

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 26th March 2020.

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Photo of John Cryer John Cryer Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions the Government has had with major supermarkets on covid-19 and on specific opening hours for (a) over 70s, (b) parents of children with severe asthma, (c) cystic fibrosis and (d) other vulnerable groups.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are working closely across Government, with representatives of the food supply chain and with local authorities and charities to ensure that everyone including the elderly and vulnerable groups such as those with severe health conditions will have continued access to food.

We are in close contact with representatives across the food supply chain and civil society to discuss further ways to help with their preparations. Supermarkets are recruiting more staff, prioritising delivery slots for those who need them most, and limiting shopping hours so they have more time to restock. They are working hard to deliver a crucial service to us all and have also issued a rallying call for everyone to play their part in the national effort to this response by looking out for their friends, family and neighbours. We will continue to work with industry to discuss any additional support the Government can provide. Retailers are prioritising delivery slots for those who need them most.

The Government is working to ensure that up to 1.5 million people in England identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract Coronavirus will have access to the food they need. A new Local Support System will make sure those individuals self-isolating at home and who are without a support network of friends and family will receive basic groceries. The Government is working with a partnership of the groceries industry, local government, local resilience forums and emergency partners, and voluntary groups, to ensure that essential items can start to be delivered as soon as possible to those who need it.

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