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'Be considerate': Shoppers urged to stop panic buying during Coronavirus pandemic

Tom McArthur
Page editor
Workers collect items to restock the empty shelves in a London Morrisons store as panic-buying over coronavirus continues on 14 March 2020 in London. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Getty Images)

Supermarkets and food retailers are asking shoppers to be considerate during the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the British Retail Consortium have written a joint letter to consumers urging people to work together to make sure there are enough food supplies for the UK.

It comes as scores of shoppers have been panic-buying essentials, including toilet paper, as fears intensify over the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Retailers are currently working "round the clock" to help customers get the items they need, the BRC said.

The letter aims to reassure customers, while calling on them to support each other during the crisis.

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"We know that many of you are worried about the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19),” the letter said. "We want to let you know that we are doing everything we can so that you and your families have the food and essentials you need.

"But we need your help too.We would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop.We understand your concerns, but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without.

"There is enough for everyone if we all work together. Together we can make sure we are looking out for family, friends, neighbours.

"Together we will care for those around us and those who are elderly, vulnerable or choosing to remain at home."

Empty shelves usually stocked with pain relief medication are seen at a branch of Boots chemist in Paddington Station in London, England, on 14 March 14, 2020. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Firms are working closely with the government and suppliers, and have arranged more store deliveries to ensure shelves are stocked, the letter added.

And outlets with online delivery and click-and-collect services are running them at full capacity.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: "Retailers are working incredibly hard to keep shops well stocked and deliveries running as smoothly as possible.

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"In the face of unprecedented demand as a result of coronavirus, food retailers have come together to ask their customers to support each other to make sure everyone can get access to the products they need."

Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: "I fully support the call from British food retailers urging us all to be considerate in the way we shop and look out for our neighbours.

"By working together, our leading supermarkets have provided the reassurance there is plenty of stock available and people should buy products as they normally would.

"We are in regular contact with the food industry and retailers are continuing to monitor their supply chains and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure consumers have the food and supplies they need."