THE Welsh Government is taking immediate action to allow delivery hours for supermarkets and other food retailers to be extended to ensure the food industry is able to respond to increased consumer demand during the Coronavirus outbreak, Local Government Minister Julie James has announced today.

The measures relax planning conditions restricting night-time and early morning deliveries, allowing retailers to accept deliveries throughout the day and night where necessary.

The Welsh Government has instructed local planning authorities to temporarily relax the enforcement of these rules to provide the food industry with greater flexibility.

Local Government Minister, Julie James, said:

“Given the exceptional challenges facing Wales and the United Kingdom as a whole from COVID-19, it is vital deliveries of food, sanitary and other essential products over the coming weeks can be made as quickly and safely as possible, minimising disruption to the supply chains on which communities depend.

“The measures I am announcing today will help ensure stores can remain open to serve the local community.

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“We are working closely with the UK Government and food industry representatives to ensure supermarkets and other food retailers are able to respond to the outbreak as best as they can.”

These measures are temporary, which will be withdrawn once the immediate urgency has subsided.

Sara Jones, Head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, said:

“It is very encouraging Welsh Ministers have listened to our representations and moved swiftly to work with local authorities to grant greater flexibility in shop and warehouse delivery times. Retail supply chains remain robust, however our grocery and pharmacy members in particular are dealing with very high demand for certain products and want to take every step possible to ensure the good stock levels in depots and the supply chain are delivered and on shop shelves at the earliest opportunity. These measures will contribute to ensuring everything possible is done to keep the shelves stocked.

“In these challenging times customers should be reassured that retail supply chains remain robust. We will continue to work closely with the Welsh and UK Governments to ensure the right measures are put in place to alleviate the ongoing challenges presented by coronavirus to the industry.”

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