FRIDAY 30 OCTOBER

🔴 Retail leaders urge government against ‘non essential’ lockdown

Grocery leaders have been holding talks with ministers to try to stave off draconian restrictions such as those in Wales, amid growing fears a second wave of coronavirus will lead to new lockdown measures.

The Grocer has learned industry insiders have been stressing the confusion and backlash against staff caused by the ‘firebreak’ in Wales and the lack of scientific evidence that stores remaining open in the first lockdown led to more cases.

🔴 East Yorkshire and Hull to enter Tier 2

The regions will face tighter coronavirus restrictions from Saturday, according to the BBC

🔴Kraft Heinz reports Q3 coronavirus pandemic sales boost

Sales at Kraft Heinz have experienced a boost in the third quarter as consumers continue to drive growth at global food groups during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the three months to 26 September, total revenues increased 6% to $6.4bn (£5bn) at the group, with organic growth of 6.3%.

 

THURSDAY 29 OCTOBER

🔴National lockdown would be ‘last resort’ 

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said there was a good chance of getting the virus under control with a regionalised approach.

 

WEDNESDAY 28 OCTOBER 

🔴 Calls for tougher restrictions in England as fears over second wave grow

 

TUESDAY 27 OCTOBER 

🔴 Welsh retailers report spike in home deliveries after entering ‘firebreak’ lockdown

Welsh convenience stores are reporting sharp rises in home delivery orders since the principality entered its ‘firebreak’ lockdown on Friday.

Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore told The Grocer it had seen a spike in demand across its 14 company-owned stores in Wales that have partnered with online delivery platform Snappy Shopper.

🔴 Significant Covid outbreak at Cranswick pork plant in Norfolk

Cranswick is facing a second major coronavirus outbreak across its manufacturing estate in three months, after more than 140 staff members tested positive for Covid-19 at a site in Norfolk.

Some 144 positive cases have now been confirmed at the pork processing giant’s plant in the town of Watton, with about 300 of the site’s 1,000-plus staff tested so far.

🔴 Retailers call for compromise over Welsh non-essential products ban

Retailers have called on the Welsh government to compromise over its ban on the sale of non-essential items, as talks continued today following a huge public backlash over the clampdown.

This morning the Welsh Retail Consortium, the CBI and ACS joined forces to call for a rethink, which would allow customers to use their discretion over which items are classed as non-essential. 

 

MONDAY 26 OCTOBER

🔴 Tesco faces backlash over tweet suggesting sanitary products were ‘non-essential items’

Tesco has faced complaints over Twitter from shoppers in Wales who claimed they were unable to buy sanitary products in their local store. In a tweet replying to one such complaint, the supermarket said it had been told by the Welsh government ”not to sell these items for the duration of the firebreak lockdown.”

However, Tesco has since deleted the Tweet, which it said was sent by mistake, and clarified that sanitary products are available across all of its stores.

The Welsh government has confirmed sanitary products are essential items and can be sold by supermarkets during the lockdown.

 

 

FRIDAY 23 OCTOBER

🔴 Non-essential items could be banned from sale in Wales

The Welsh government is due to publish a list of non-essential items that could be temporarily banned from sale from 6pm tonight. Supermarkets and convenience store bosses have expressed outrage over the new rules which could ban the sale of clothing, homeware and even Halloween products such as pumpkins.

 

🔴 Wholesalers included in Chancellor’s new support package

After months of campaigning, Wholesalers will be included in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new support package for discretionary local authority grants and the extended Job Support Scheme. 

 

🔴 Sales of canned fish and meat soar during lockdown

Sales of canned goods have surged since the spring’s national lockdown, rising 13.7% to £1,163.4m – a £140.4m increase versus the same period last year, The Grocer can exclusively reveal

 

THURSDAY 22 OCTOBER 

🔴 Christmas turkey supply under threat from Covid-19 labour shortage

The UK’s Christmas’s turkey supply could “collapse” because of the governments quarantine rules for foreign seasonal workers, says the The British Poultry Council. 

The industry body has warned that unless an exception is granted, suppliers would be short of at least 1,000 workers from countries not currently on the UK’s travel corridor list over the festive season. 

🔴 Unilever sales rise on back of cleaning boom

Unilever has enjoyed a sales boost in the third-quarter as consumers stocked up on cleaning products. The Cif and Domestos owner saw underlying sales growth accelerate  4.4% to €12.9bn (£11.6bn) in the three months to the end of September.

 

TUESDAY 20 OCTOBER 

🔴 Welsh lockdown to cost foodservice wholesaler £2m

Wholesaler Harlech Foodservice has revealed that the fortnight fire break lockdown in Wales will cost the business £2m. The Criccieth-based wholesaler has been forced to cut staff wages by 40% and says the lockdown will put jobs at risk.

MONDAY 19 OCTOBER

🔴 Ireland to enter Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions from Wednesday night 

The Irish government has introduced new coronavirus restrictions which are expected to last for six weeks. Essential retailers will remain open while cafes, restaurants and pubs will be takeaway only. 

🔴 ‘Fire break’ lockdown for Wales confirmed 

The Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed a two-week “fire break” lockdown which will cover the whole of Wales. 

🔴 Pandemic causes store closures to double

New data shows that shop closure rates in the first half of 2020 are close to double that of the same period last year, with some 11,120 chain stores shutting shop.

 

FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER

🔴 Welsh government considers ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown

Ministers are actively considering a ’circuit breaker’ lockdown for two or three weeks to slow the rapid spread of coronavirus in Wales and stop hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, according to The Guardian.

 

🔴Four staff members test positive for coronavirus at Central England Co-op store in Leicester

Four staff members at a Central England Co-op store in Leicester have tested positive for coronavirus.

The colleagues from its Anstey Food Store in Charnwood are now self-isolating at home.

The society said that any further colleagues who were in close contact with those who have tested positive were also self-isolating as a precaution and have been encouraged to get tested as well.

 

🔴 Pret a Manger to cut 400 more jobs and close six stores

Pret a Manger is set to axe another 400 jobs and permanently close six more stores as the struggling sandwich chain continues to react to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

This latest redundancies come after the chain cut its workforce by a third, laying off 2,800 employees at the end of August.

The six stores will take the total number of closures to 36, with 389 still in operation in the UK.

 

🔴 Bars and pubs set to close across Lancashire

Local leaders have agreed the county should enter Tier 3 of England’s lockdown system following a surge in Covid cases, reports Sky News.

 

🔴 Hospitality chief issues warning over job losses in London

It comes as London is set to enter tier 2 this weekend, with stricter coronavirus measures to apply to the capital’s hospitality businesses. The whole of Essex, north-east Derbyshire, Erewash, Chesterfield, Barrow-in-Furness and York also entering tier 2, something Nicholls has described as a “huge hit” to many community pubs, rural restaurants and hotels.

 

THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER

🔴 Liverpool ‘wet pubs’ scramble to set up ‘substantial’ food offer to avoid closure

North of England wholesaler Birchall Foodservice has been contacted by ‘wet pubs’ in Liverpool keen to set up makeshift kitchens in order to side-step lockdown rules and continue trading.

The enquiries came after Boris Johnson laid out a new three-tier lockdown system this week in the government’s latest attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

 

🔴 Waitrose to shut cafes at Christmas

Waitrose plans to close all its in-store cafes for at least a month over Christmas so it can focus on managing numbers in store, amid fears over the potential spread of Covid-19.

The retailer said it would shut all the facilities from 13 December with a gradual re-opening from mid-January.

 

🔴 London set to move into Covid Tier 2

London will face tougher coronavirus restrictions from midnight on Friday, according to the BBC. Households will be barred from mixing in pubs and restaurants as the capital moves from Covid Tier 1 to Tier 2, MPs have been told.

 

WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER 

🔴 Regal Wholesale reports soaring sales during the pandemic

Liverpool-based Regal Wholesale has seen sales rocket through the pandemic, resulting in annual turnover jumping 31% to £21.3m for the year ending 31 July 2020.

Sales of home, health and hygiene products doubled from March to July compared with the same period the previous year.

 

🔴 Boparan rescues burger chain GBK from administration

 

2 Sisters owner Boparan has continued its push into casual dining, with the rescue of the GBK burger brand from administration.

Boparan has bought the chain in a pre-pack administration deal after GBK appointed Deloitte to broker a rescue deal after a slump in trading due to the coronavirus crisis.

 

TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER

🔴 Grocery heroes recognised in Queen’s honours

The Queen’s annual Birthday Honours List has named several supermarket employees for their outstanding contribution during the coronavirus crisis. The list includes shop floor workers from Sainsbury’s and The Co-op and many other key workers in the grocery supply chain. You’ll find the list of those honoured from grocery here

 

MONDAY 12 OCTOBER

🔴Independent brewers warn of ’job losses and business closures’ under new coronavirus measures

Ian Fozard, chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers, said: “Small independent breweries have been running on empty for months and these new local lockdown measures, without proper financial support, will lead to more job losses and further business closures. 

“Brewery sales have collapsed because of the uncertainty of further restrictions, as pubs fear they will be closed. While pubs that are legally closed are being offered financial support this does not seem to apply to small breweries that will lose more than 80% of their sales. 

“We need a comprehensive package of support, including the extension of the Job Retention Scheme to breweries before it is too late to save our small independent brewers.”

 

🔴 WSTA responds to new ‘three tier system’ of coronavirus controls

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“We welcome the fact that hospitality venues forced to close will receive financial support and confirmation that retail will remain open under all scenarios.

“But the latest lockdown restrictions will come as a bitter blow to pubs and bars who have worked hard - and invested dwindling resources - to ensure their businesses are safe.

“We understand the need to focus efforts where infection risks are the greatest and welcome the Government’s approach to managing this geographically, at a local or regional level, allowing those outside of affected areas to continue to operate.

“The support measures announced by the Chancellor last week will have given many businesses facing the prospect of being shut down a much needed lifeline, but we have serious concerns that – once again - those who supply the hospitality sector are being overlooked. They need access to the same levels of support.”

 

 

🔴 Government confirms Covid-19 ’three-tier system’ in England 

The government has confirmed plans for a ‘three-tier’ system of coronavirus controls in England, which include closures of hospitality venues in tier 3 (very high).

 

🔴Queues set to return as Scotland first to bring back two-metre rule

Stores in Scotland have reintroduced tighter social distancing measures, despite a recognition from the government it will lead to the return of queues outside stores.

All stores north of the border were ordered to reintroduce two-metre rule restrictions from Saturday morning, including queueing signage, one-way systems and marshals in store to keep distancing at the checkouts.

 

🔴Heath experts warn over spread of coronavirus in England

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam warned there has been a “marked pick-up” in coronavirus cases. 

 

FRIDAY 9 OCTOBER

🔴Government accuses media of exaggerating reports of panic buying

The government has accused the media of exaggerating reports of panic buying in supermarkets as it denied being unprepared for the impact of the Covid crisis on the food supply chain.

In its response to the Efra committee inquiry into the crisis, published today, ministers also ignored calls for the creation of a minister for hunger and denied they had been too slow to react to the crisis, contributing to millions of vulnerable people facing food insecurity.

 

THURSDAY 8 OCTOBER

🔴 Off-trade wine sales soar by almost £1bn since lockdown

Brits have splashed out almost an extra £1bn on wine since the start of lockdown, exclusive sales data reveals.

Take-home still and sparkling wine sales skyrocketed 31.1% to £3,440m in the 24 weeks to 6 September – representing an £815m increase on the same period in 2019 [Kantar].

However, this growth would not necessarily offset suppliers’ income from massively reduced on-trade business over the year, sources say.

 

🔴 Gressingham looks to cash in on smaller Christmas gatherings with geese

 

🔴 Health minister insists ’further measures’ are necessary as new lockdowns anticipated in the north

Nadine Dorries MP has warned hospital admissions will reach a “critical stage” within 10 days without further measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

It comes as The Guardian reports that MPs representing constituencies in the Midlands and north of England have been summoned to a video conference led by health minister Edward Agar. The government is reportedly set to brief them on details of new local lockdowns, which were leaked to newspapers yesterday.

 

🔴 Housing minister says government will have to consider additional support for hospitality

It comes as Scotland has introduced strict new measures for hospitality businesses, with the BBC reporting that “coronavirus restrictions are to be further tightened in parts of England early next week, with the closure of bars and restaurants a possibility”.

 

🔴 Bidfood sheds 500 jobs and closes five depots

Bidfood has made in excess of 500 employees redundant, closed five depots and shut down two subsidiary businesses as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc through the hospitality industry, The Grocer can reveal.

The job losses account for around 7% of the foodservice giant’s 7,500 strong-workforce and come at the end of a three-month consultation process working alongside trade unions.

 

🔴 SWA urges hospitality sector support as Scottish businesses are closed

The Scottish Wholesale Association has warned the latest coronavirus restrictions are “death by a thousand cuts” and called for hospitality supply chain support.

It comes as first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced new tougher measures for restaurants, pubs and bars in Scotland yesterday, which are due to come into force on 9 October at 6pm.

 

WEDNESDAY 7 OCTOBER

🔴 Panic buying fears dampened as average basket spend declines

 

🔴 Pubs and restaurants to shut in central Scotland

Pubs, restaurants and cafes in central Scotland will be closed for 16 days as part of tougher coronavirus restrictions, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Licensed venues elsewhere in Scotland will be barred from selling alcohol indoors for more than two weeks. It comes as Scotland has recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours.

 

🔴 Scotland braced for tougher Covid-19 measures

Scotland is expected to announce stricter coronavirus measures today, although first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there will not be a full lockdown, according to Sky News

 

🔴 Banham poultry installs disinfectant machines

A chicken processing factory forced to temporarily close during a coronavirus outbreak has installed new disinfectant machines, according to reports.

Banham Poultry, in Attleborough, Norfolk, has installed five ‘portals’ at entrances that use artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to identify staff and check temperatures. As workers walk through the booths, they are sprayed with a fine mist of disinfectant.

The firm is also using hand-held ‘fogging’ machines to disinfect facilities and shared areas.

 

TUESDAY 6 OCTOBER

 

🔴 Rishi Sunak insists Eat Out to Help Out did not fuel coronavirus second wave

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has defended the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which some claim contributed to the second wave of Covid-19 cases.

“The hospitality indusrty employs over 2m people, they are disapraportionaly young, women, people from ethnic minorities and people who are lower paid. So as a matter of social justice I think actually trying to protect and support those jobs is very important,” he told BBC Breakfast.

The South West, where the scheme was very popular and well used, is seeing some of the lowest levels of coronavirus transmission, he added.

However, Sunak also defended the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues, stressing the spread of the virus was exacerbated by social contact, particularly later in the evening.

 

MONDAY 5 OCTOBER

🔴 Tesco begins adding traffic lights to store entrances

Tesco has begun rolling out a traffic light system at store entrances to help maintain distancing.

The lights control the number shoppers inside based on the store’s capacity and two-metre social distancing guidelines.

 

🔴 Government plans three-tier lockdown system

The government is planning a new three-tier lockdown system for England, according to reports in the Guardian. Leaked documents reportedly reveal plans for a traffic-light system, with stricter local restrictions including pub closures in areas under the highest alert level.

 

FRIDAY 2 OCTOBER

🔴One third of shoppers have loose produce Covid fears

Shoppers are more concerned about sustainable packaging following the coronavirus outbreak – but almost 30% have admitted to feeling less comfortable about buying loose groceries.

A Harris Interactive survey of 1,000 UK shoppers, conducted exclusively for The Grocer, found 36% felt sustainable packaging had become more important since the start of the pandemic, with only 11% considering it less important.

 

🔴Booths relaunches grocery delivery service for vulnerable customers

Booths has relaunched its emergency grocery delivery service for vulnerable shoppers this week following an increase in demand.

Local lockdowns in areas such as Preston and Manchester have led the retailer to offer the deliveries of essential grocery packages again to “help communities cope” with an upsurge in people self-isolating.

 

🔴FDF report reveals effect of pandemic on food & drink exports

Food and drink exports have fallen for the first time since 2015 as a result of coronavirus disruption, an FDF report has shown.

Year-on-year exports fell by 13.8% to £9.7bn in the first half of 2020, driven by reduced access to foreign markets and hospitality closures.

 

THURSDAY 1 OCTOBER

 

🔴 Meat giant Pilgrim’s Pride sees positive Covid-19 tests

170 staff at a Pilgrim’s Pride meat processing plant in Cornwall have tested positive for coronavirus. 

 

🔴 Lockdown restrictions put in place across Liverpool city region 

 

WEDNESDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2020

🔴 Grocery shop spend spikes to highest level since peak lockdown

Shopper receipt data shows per-basket spending shot up during the last full week of September – the biggest week-on-week increase since peak lockdown, according to exclusive data from Dunnhumby Beyond. 

The increase followed the government’s announcement of new restrictions including earlier hospitality closing times and home working where possible.

🔴 Morrisons to hire 1,000 new staff to cope with online boom

Morrisons is recruiting over 1,000 permanent members of staff to keep up with its expanding online services on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon Prime Now.

The new staff will serve customers on the Morrisons on Amazon site (run by Amazon) and the Morrisons store on Prime Now amid a surge in online shopping during the coronavirus lockdown. 

 

TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2020

🔴 Bernard Matthews Suffolk turkey plant hit by Covid-19 outbreak

Bernard Matthews’ turkey processing plant in Suffolk has become the latest fresh food factory to report a Covid-19 outbreak, with 18 workers having tested positive as of yesterday evening (28 September).

According to Suffolk County Council, which is co-ordinating the response to the outbreak, approximately 100 workers have so far been tested with most returning negative results. Further testing has been taking place this week.

 

🔴 Iceland offers university students priority delivery slots and discount

Iceland is offering students £5 off a £40 online shop as well as priority delivery slots.

Tweeting about the offer today, Iceland MD Richard Walker said the frozen food chain was helping those most affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

 

🔴 Lockdown city leaders warn of hospitality collapse

Sky News reports that the chief executives of Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester city councils have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Business Secretary Alok Sharma warning lockdown rules are threatening to completely decimate hospitality trade in the region, leading to ”huge levels of redundancies and depleted and boarded up high streets.”

 

MONDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2020

🔴 Sainsbury’s to double pre-pandemic online slot count by end of October

Sainsbury’s will have more than doubled its pre-pandemic online grocery order capacity by the end of October. Around 700,000 online orders per week will be fulfilled via both home delivery and click & collect by the end of next month.

 

🔴 Manchester mayor calls for ‘urgent review’ of 10pm curfew

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, has warned the early closure of pubs and restaurants is doing ‘more harm than good’

 

🔴 Ministers prepare emergency lockdown plan to ban socialising and combat second wave of coronavirus, The Times reports (£)

 

 

FRIDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2020

🔴 Tesco clamps down on stockpiling with new purchase limits on food

Tesco is putting purchase limits on popular bulk-buy items, including food, as supermarkets act to prevent another round of panic buying.

In-store purchases will be limited to three items per customer for flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes. Tesco is also bringing in additional three-product limits online for a small number of products such as rice and canned veg.

Yesterday, The Grocer revealed Morrisons had reintroduced purchasing limits on products including toilet rolls and disinfectant, amid fears of a repeat of the empty shelves seen in March.

However, Tesco is the first supermarket so far to bring back restrictions on food.

 

🔴 Asda increases safety measures in stores

Asda is introducing 1,000 new marshals to improve coronavirus safety compliance in stores. The marshals, who will be stationed at the front of every store and in the aisles of larger stores, will ensure all customers are wearing face coverings and adhering to social distancing measures. If a customer doesn’t have a face covering when they arrive at the store, marshals will offer them a pack of disposable masks that they can pay for when they have finished shopping.

’These Marshals are in place to help keep everyone safe and should be treated with respect and courtesy as they carry out their duties.’ wrote Asda in a notice to customers. 

The retailer is also increasing the number of hand sanitising stations in busy areas of stores and is adding a protective antimicrobial coating to basket and trolley handles.

 

THURSDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2020

🔴 Government backtracks on face mask rule for shopworkers

New regulations requiring shop staff to wear masks will not apply to workers behind a Perspex screen, ministers have announced today.

The change in rules come after 48 hours of confusion since the Prime Minister’s announcement of mandatory face masks for indoor shop workers.

 

🔴 Deliveroo welcomes Chancellor’s winter economy plan

Responding to Rishi Sunak’s statement today, Deliveroo CEO Will Shu said: ”Deliveroo and our restaurant partners called on the government toextend the VAT reduction for the hospitality sector and we are delighted they have done so. This will make a huge difference to thousands of restaurants across the country.

“The industry has worked incredibly hard to get back on its feet over the past few months, but with new restrictions being put in place this tentative recovery would have vanished overnight without this additional support.

The sector still faces significant challenges. Should more stringent lockdown measures be required, this could have a devastating impact on restaurants and the government must be prepared to put in place an even stronger financial package in future.

Deliveroo will keep working with our partners and the government to ensure that restaurants get the vital support they need to survive and continue to make a valuable contribution to our economy.”

 

🔴 Rishi Sunak announces job support scheme

The Chancellor has announced a new wage subsidy scheme to help protect jobs over the next six months after the furlough scheme ends in October. Staff must work at least a third of their hours to be eligible, and will be paid two thirds of their pay for the remaining hours, with the employer and the government paying one-third each. So they will recieve at least 77% of their pay, capped at £697.92 per month.

Sunak said the jobs support scheme was part of a wider “winter economy plan”. The government is also extending the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year and giving businesses more flexibility to pay back loans given as part of the coronavirus support package.

Federation of Wholesale Distributors CEO James Bielby said the job support scheme and VAT cut extension were welcome, but the best way to support the wholesale industry through this next phase was to extend business rate relief to the sector.

 

🔴 Morrisons puts restrictions on toilet roll and hand gel

Morrisons has reintroduced purchasing limits on products including toilet rolls and disinfectant, amid fears of a new wave of panic buying.

Despite supermarket bosses urging customers not to stockpile, the supermarket said it was placing limits on key products.

 

🔴 NHS contact tracing app launches in England and Wales

The new NHS Covid-19 app is the “fastest way of knowing when you’re at risk from coronavirus”, say the NHS. Features include contact tracing using Bluetooth, risk alerts based on postcode district, QR check-in at venues and a symptom checker. Hospitality businesses were urged to sign up to the app ahead of its launch.

 

🔴 Hospitality bodies and food chains urge Chancellor to extend support

Pub and hospitality trade bodies have made a plea to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the furlough scheme, warning without it 540,000 jobs could be lost from a sector “teetering on the edge” after new restrictions were introduced this week.

In a separate call, the CEOs of KFC, Deliveroo, Pizza Hut and Deliveroo wrote to the Chancellor warning the 10pm curfew on restaurants would have a “catastrophic impact” on their businesses and staff if additional financial support from government wasn’t received.

 

🔴 Greggs factory halts production amid coronavirus outbreak 

A Greggs production facility has closed after an outbreak of Covid-19. The baker said a “small number” of workers at its Balliol manufacturing site in Newcastle had tested positive for the virus. The temporary closure would not cause any supply shortages, according to Greggs. 

 

🔴 Rishi Sunak to announce multibillion-pound package of support

The Chancellor is set to announce a multibillion-pound package of support for the economy today. According to The Times, he will extend VAT cut for hospitality and tourism until end of March and extend coronavirus loan schemes until November, as well as increasing the terms of loans from six to 10 years. Sunak will also announce a wage subsidy scheme for part time working as furlough scheme ends, The Times says.

 

WEDNESDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2020

 

🔴 Government under pressure to extend furlough scheme

Boris Johnson has come under pressure to extend the furlough scheme beyond October. During Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon, Labour leader Keir Starmer criticised the government for phasing out the scheme despite implementing new Covid-19 restrictions, while Ian Blackford MP called for an “immediate extension” to the “vital and lifesaving measure”.

 

🔴 Asda tightens Covid security as it says all staff will wear masks

Asda has announced it is tightening its Covid-19 safety measures, including employing 1,000 new safety marshals and making it compulsory for store staff to wear masks.

The move, which follows prime minister Boris Johnson’s anncouncement yesterday of new lockdown restrictions, includes the creation of a new army of Asda safety marshals stationed at the front of every store and in the aisles of larger stores.

 

🔴Wholesalers issue urgent plea to government

Wholesalers have issued fresh calls on the government to extend business rates relief to the sector amid fears that the 10pm curfew could set foodservice’s recovery back months.

In response to the “body blow” of new restrictions imposed on the hospitality sector last night, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors has written to MPs once again urging them to help lobby the Treasury for an extension to business rate relief, outlining a raft of “critical issues” facing the sector.

 

🔴 Aldi chief appeals directly to customers not to stockpile

Aldi has appealed directly to customers not to stockpile as the country enters a new round of Covid restrictions.

In an email to customers, Aldi UK & Ireland CEO Giles Hurley has assured them there is no need for them to buy any more than usual, the behaviour that saw shelves stripped bare in March.

 

🔴 Confusion over Covid masks ruling as retailers fear new fines threat

Retail bosses are calling on the government to clear up confusion over its new policy on masks, with less than 24 hours before the new rules come into place.

The Grocer understands supermarket and convenience store chiefs met with BEIS bosses yesterday to call for greater clarity over Boris Johnson’s plans, made as part of his six-month package of measures to try to tackle the coronavirus second wave.

 

🔴 Coffee shop confusion over new Covid-19 rules

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab was unable to clear up confusion over how new Covid-19 rules might affect coffee shops and fast-food outlets such as McDonald’s. Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme this morning, Raab was asked whether people could order food at McDonald’s or a coffee shop before sitting down at a table. 

“My understanding is you need to be able to order from the tables,” he said. “I think the key element in the guidance, and it will be made very clear to those businesses, is that we avoid the milling around and the social interaction. We think the risk is less if you are sat down and eating.”

 

🔴 Government considers German-style wage subsidy scheme

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is drawing up plans for a new programme to subsidise workers’ wages, according to reports in The Financial Times, as pressure mounts to avert mass unemployment when the government’s £39bn job retention scheme ends in October. 

 

TUESDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 2020

 

🔴 Welsh government bans supermarkets from selling alcohol after 10pm

The Welsh government has announced a series of measures to control coronavirus, including a 10pm curfew for hospitality businesses, like pubs and restaurants, and a ban on off-licences, including supermarkets selling alcohol after 10pm

 

🔴 Retailers will support safety measures including masks, says BRC

Retailers will support all necessary safety measures including the use of face coverings for all staff, the BRC has Tweeted, following Boris Johnson’s announcement today that masks will become mandatory for workers in shops and pubs.

 

🔴 Nicola Sturgeon confirms new Covid-19 measures in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Scotland will follow England in imposing a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. Speaking in Parliament today, the Scottish first minister also said a ban on meeting people from different households in homes - already imposed in Glasgow and some surrounding areas - would be extended across the country.

 

🔴Government announces all retail workers will have to wear face masks

Retail workers will be forced to wear face coverings under new restrictions announced by the prime minister in Parliament.

Boris Johnson said masks would become obligatory for shop assistants and workers in pubs, restaurants and cafés in England from Thursday, with governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland expected to take similar steps.

Other new measures aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19 include:

  • From Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate on a table service only basis and must close at 10pm
  • From Thursday, takeaways must also close at 10pm, but can operate a delivery service beyond that time
  • If office workers can work from home, they should do so
  • The Covid secure guidelines will become legal requirements
  • From Monday, there will be a maximum of 15 people allowed at weddings
  • From Monday, the rule of six will be extended to all adult indoor team sports

 

🔴 Two thirds of adults worried about food supply in second wave

More than two thirds of Brits (66%) are worried about the impact a second wave of Covid-19 will have on UK food supplies, despite assurances from retailers about the state of the supply chain, a YouGov poll showed today.

Less than half (48%) of people were confident the food and farming system was prepared for a second wave of Covid-19 or a future pandemic.

 

🔴 Nicola Sturgeon set to announce new Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland

The Scottish first minister has confirmed she will make a statement to Scottish Parliament at 2.20pm and a TV address at 8.05pm on BBC.

 

🔴 Government changes its messaging on working from home

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Michael Gove confirmed the government was now urging people to work from home if they can, in response to the spread of the virus. It previously encouraged people to safely return to work where possible

 

🔴Coronavirus curfew plans ‘crushing blow’ to sector, say hospitality bosses

Government plans for a curfew on pubs and restaurants will be another “crushing blow” for the hospitality sector, out-of-home bosses warned today.

Boris Johnson is today set to announce moves to order pubs and other hospitality venues to close at 10pm, as well as restricting the sector to table service only. Pub bosses warned many businesses would collapse unless they received further financial support.

 

MONDAY 21 September 2020

🔴 Supermarkets warn public against another spate of panic buying

Supermarket bosses have warned the public against embarking on another spate of panic buying, as the UK braces itself for a new phase of nationwide lockdown measures.

A series of retailers told The Grocer the one thing that could cause a repeat of the empty shelves seen at the start of the pandemic was a sudden surge in demand from shoppers. Supermarkets stressed they had plenty of capacity in store and online.

 

🔴 Morrisons tightens Covid safety measures with door marshals

Morrisons has announced moves to tighten safety measures as the UK experiences a surge in the number of coronavirus cases.

The retailer said it had reintroduced door marshals, first used when the pandemic hit in March, at its stores from the end of last week, to limit shopper numbers and ensure social distancing.

 

🔴 Boris Johnson’s chief scientific advisers give stark coronavirus briefing

Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty have given a briefing on coronavirus. They warn coronavirus cases could hit almost 50,000 a day within weeks if the infection rate is not reduced.