The UK government will lift environmental restrictions on the logistics operations behind major supermarkets, after apparent panic-buying of hygiene items, including toilet roll and hand sanitiser, meant demand was outstripping supply in some areas.

While supermarkets are normally restricted in the hours they are permitted to make deliveries to their premises to reduce noise and disruption to local residents, the government will relax these restrictions to make restocking the shelves easier.

The outbreak of coronavirus has seen a significant surge in demand for a range of products, and environment minister George Eustice has agreed to give retailers more freedom to work around the clock to keep the logistics chain free.

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The government may also relax rules on how many hours a day delivery drivers are permitted to work to get extra capacity in the system, reports the BBC. Further developments may see to-home grocery deliveries extended to get food to those quarantined at home, with drops being made to domestic addresses through the night.

Supermarkets may urge even further steps, reports Sky News, which states that at least one supermarket will call on the government to suspend competition regulations which prevent large retailers from collaborating in organising deliveries. This may become necessary if one or more supermarket supply chain is hit by coronavirus, the supermarket is expected to argue.

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