SHOPPERS across the country have had to get used to empty shelves due to panic-buying fuelled by the coronavirus crisis.
But according to the government, there is more than enough food and the virus won't be affecting supply chains in the long term.
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Will the supermarkets stay open if the UK goes into full lockdown?
Yes, supermarkets will continue to stay open as normal in a potential lockdown with all essential public places expected to remain available during the coronavirus crisis.
People will be allowed to leave their homes to go to the supermarket and buy food, as they are in France and Italy which are currently under strict lockdown.
And the secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, has assured the public that supermarkets can cope with increased demand.
Food production is up 50 per cent – with Mr Eustice reassuring the UK the government will keep a "close eye" on shops exploiting the pandemic and hiking up prices.
And the government has now set up a "war room" for food industry executives to address the crisis.
British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson also stressed yesterday there was "plenty of food" as she too urged Brits to stop panicking.
Greedy shoppers in Britain have spent a billion pounds on stockpiling essentials in just three weeks – leaving vulnerable pensioners without food and toilet paper.
When will supermarkets restock?
Toilet rolls, handwash soaps and pasta are among a number of products that have been hard to get hold of as people continue to prepare themselves for an extended period of time indoors.
Tesco, Waitrose and more have said branches will close earlier to allow staff enough time to keep shelves replenished, while also allowing special dedicated shopping hours for pensioners, the vulnerable, NHS workers and paramedics.
Stores are now even rationing customers to avoid leaving some unhappy and empty-handed – the first time this has been done since World War II.
Last week, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda set a limit of three for any item and two for essential products, such as toilet roll and handwash.
How can I order my groceries online and will there be delays?
Many shoppers have rushed to order online as they self-isolate and try to avoid empty shelves at the supermarkets.
All major supermarkets including Tesco and Asda offer a food delivery service, while Ocado and Amazon Pantry offer a specifically digital service.
Bu most shoppers have been hit with delays of over a week for online grocery shops as delivery slots sell out due to people stockpiling.
Supermarkets have warned this could continue for the "long haul" – likely weeks or months.
Industry leaders have said that even if the UK’s delivery capacity was doubled there would "never [be] enough" to keep isolating Brits fed and healthy.
So shoppers should expect delays when ordering online.
Will my local restaurants be delivering and how can I order?
After the announcement that restaurants and pubs would close, many have turned into takeaways offering their usual menu and drinks choices.
Deliveries will be available through apps like Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo, but also directly from restaurants and pubs.
And many restaurants that did not previously offer delivery services have now turned into takeaways, including celebrated restaurant chain Gaucho and London's famous Chinese restaurant Hakkassan.
What does going into lockdown actually mean?
“Lockdown” actually isn't a technical term used by public health officials, it is often referred to as “mass quarantines', where residents are forced or advised to stay at home.
This involves restricting the movement of residents and only allowing people to leave home to attend essential work, purchase food or medicine or go to a hospital.
Later today, Dominic Raab will provide the government's daily press briefing where he is expected to answer questions about a potential lockdown.
France, Italy and Spain are all currently in lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.
In France, people are only allowed to leave their homes to go to the supermarket, the pharmacy or to work if absolutely necessary.
Exercise is permitted for just one hour per day, within a one kilometre radius of home.
Only one person per household is permitted to leave their house at any given time.
The UK has gone into a form of lockdown, but a less restrictive one than the three Mediterranean countries.
British residents are only allowed to leave their homes for one of four essential reasons.
- Travel to and from work for key workers only
- Shopping for basic necessities, but as infrequently as possible
- Taking one form of exercise a day, alone or with members of your household, such as walking, running or cycling
- Going to a medical appointment or providing care to a vulnerable person.
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