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UK weather: Supermarkets CANCEL online food deliveries amid heavy snow and ice

Supermarkets have been forced to cancel online food deliveries after heavy snow and ice brought travel chaos to areas of Britain amid temperatures falling as low as -10C (14F) overnight.

Drivers were urged to stay off the roads with treacherous conditions predicted by the AA as thawing snow turns to ice, with Britons in some areas also expected to face freezing fog patches which will be slow to clear.

More than six inches of snow could fall before New Year’s Day, with the severe conditions affecting shopping deliveries and raising fears vulnerable and self-isolating families could be left without supplies. 

Britons venting their frustration online reported having orders cancelled only to find slots for redelivery were not available for several weeks amid huge national demand due to people staying at home during the pandemic.

In Congleton, Cheshire, one Tesco customer told how she received a text saying her delivery was cancelled due to ‘severe weather conditions’ at the very moment one of the supermarket’s vans drove past her house.

Snow in Worcester this morning as forecasters warned more than six inches of snow could fall before New Year’s Day

 

Snow has settled on the ground in Leeds this morning with more flurries expected over the next few days

Snow has settled on the ground in Leeds this morning with more flurries expected over the next few days

Snow on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire this morning as more severe weather is forecast by the Met Office

Snow on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire this morning as more severe weather is forecast by the Met Office

Morning snow in Leeds today as the Met Office issues weather warnings covering much of the country

Morning snow in Leeds today as the Met Office issues weather warnings covering much of the country

Cars drive along the snowy roads at Sale in Cheshire this morning with more flurries still on the way

Cars drive along the snowy roads at Sale in Cheshire this morning with more flurries still on the way

Snow on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire this morning after flurries fell in many parts of the country

Snow on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire this morning after flurries fell in many parts of the country

Traffic moves along icy roads in Leeds this morning after parts of West Yorkshire were hit by snow

Traffic moves along icy roads in Leeds this morning after parts of West Yorkshire were hit by snow

Alice Harrison, 37, has since struggled to find another slot for her shielding parents, saying: ‘I thought it was quite premature, it was due at 2pm, and the roads were just slushy when I got the text, they’re completely melted now.’

One Sainsbury’s customer wrote on social media that he and his wife, who are in their 70s and are unable to drive due to health reasons, had their delivery cancelled due to a ‘light scattering of snow’.

Age UK expressed concern about elderly people being cut off by the severe weather and urged the public to check on any vulnerable neighbours.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: ‘We tend to take easy access to food and other essentials for granted, but this Christmas a number of factors are getting in the way. 

‘Bad weather, the pandemic and disruption to supply lines from Europe are creating a perfect storm, whereby even the most organised among us can find we’re unexpectedly cut off from things we need.’ 

Tesco said less than 1 per cent of yesterday’s orders were affected but did admit some had to be cancelled. A spokesman added: ‘Our colleagues are working hard to deliver more online orders than ever before.

Icy roads are pictured in Leeds this morning following snowfall in the West Yorkshire city and further afield

Icy roads are pictured in Leeds this morning following snowfall in the West Yorkshire city and further afield

A snow-covered bench on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire this morning with more severe weather on the way

A snow-covered bench on the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire this morning with more severe weather on the way

Snow falls on a street in Leeds this morning as parts of the country are set for further flurries in the next few days

Snow falls on a street in Leeds this morning as parts of the country are set for further flurries in the next few days

Heavy snow falls in Edinburgh early this morning as the severe weather brought dangerous conditions to the roads

Heavy snow falls in Edinburgh early this morning as the severe weather brought dangerous conditions to the roads

‘However, difficult weather conditions in some parts of the country mean that we’ve had to cancel a very small number of deliveries today. We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and would like to apologise to any customers affected.’

The cold snap will continue to spread across Britain today and temperatures could plunge as low as -10C (14F) in parts of the country. 

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of snow and ice for much of England and Wales and parts of Scotland after a day of heavy snowfall in some regions, with more wintry weather expected tomorrow and on Thursday. 

It said that overnight temperatures into today ‘will tumble towards freezing, perhaps getting as low as -10C in western Scotland where there is a covering of snow’.

Wintry showers could see up to 4in (10cm) of snow fall over the Pennines and North York Moors, according to the weather warning which runs until 10am today.

The Met Office said that most places will see little or no snow, but ‘a slight covering of a centimetre or so is possible in a few places’.

Ben Sheridan, of the AA, said: ‘Thawing snow, rainfalls and freezing temperatures overnight lead to challenging driving conditions, with roads likely to be icy in the morning.’

But the AA added regional restrictions, which have been imposed due to Covid-19, mean that roads are quieter than normal. 

Today's weather warnings

Tomorrow's weather warnings

The Met Office has issued snow and ice warnings for much of Britain today (left) and southern England tomorrow (right)

Large swathes of London, the Midlands, the South, South West plus the east of England and Wales have also been warned that snow and ice could hit tomorrow and on Thursday.

The Met Office yellow warning suggests that up to 2in (5cm) of snow could fall across parts of southern Wales, central and southern England, and there is a small chance of 4in (10cm) to 6in (15cm) settling in a few places, most likely on high ground above 650ft (200m).

It comes after much of England and Wales endured a cold and frosty Bank Holiday Monday.  Large parts of the country woke up to a fairytale sight yesterday after an icy blast brought snow showers.

But despite the pretty snow scenes, the freezing temperatures brought chaos to roads and railways – with forecasters warning of another dumping. 

The festive flurries came after parts of Britain suffered flooding as Storm Bella brought 100mph gales and heavy downpours.

Heavy snowfall prompted Gloucestershire Police to advise the public not to go out unless it was essential.

There was a similar warning in much of the Midlands following a number of crashes, with incidents closing stretches of the M5, M6 and M54 yesterday. Temperatures plunged as low as -6.4C (20.5F) in some areas. 

Yet in a magical escape from the pandemic, children and families wrapped up and headed outside to sledge down hills, build snowmen and enjoy snowball fights. And it did not stop swimmers taking a dip in freezing lakes around the country.

The yellow alert covers the East of England, London and the South East, the North West, South West, Midlands and Wales.  The icy conditions led to difficult conditions for motorists with many forced to abandon their cars.

In Staffordshire drivers faced with long delays with some stranded for three hours when traffic came to a standstill on Basford Bank. The council said its gritters had been out overnight but the snow was heavier than forecast, with 3in (7.5cm) falling in some places.

In Liverpool, a driver had a lucky escape after their car flipped over on an icy stretch of the M57 at lunchtime yesterday, causing delays.

Photographs showed the red Fiat 500 lying on its side with its windscreen shattered having ploughed into crash barriers at the side of the carriageway near Prescot. Police said the driver suffered only minor injuries.

Delays were also reported on rail services through Stoke-on-Trent from both Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham New Street while a landslip caused by torrential rain blocked rail lines and disrupted train passenger services between Reading, Wokingham, Aldershot and Guildford. 

Snow-covered fields near the village of Oulton in Staffordshire yesterday which turned into a winter wonderland

Snow-covered fields near the village of Oulton in Staffordshire yesterday which turned into a winter wonderland

A snowplough drives down a road at Keele in Staffordshire yesterday as wintry weather hits parts of the West Midlands

A snowplough drives down a road at Keele in Staffordshire yesterday as wintry weather hits parts of the West Midlands

A man cycles through the snow in Mortimer Forest near Ludlow in Shropshire yesterday amid the wintry conditions

A man cycles through the snow in Mortimer Forest near Ludlow in Shropshire yesterday amid the wintry conditions

Heavy snow and slow-moving traffic on the M5 motorway near junction one at Bromsgrove in Worcestershire yesterday

Heavy snow and slow-moving traffic on the M5 motorway near junction one at Bromsgrove in Worcestershire yesterday

An easyJet plane is pictured at Manchester Airport yesterday amid the snow conditions in parts of northern England

An easyJet plane is pictured at Manchester Airport yesterday amid the snow conditions in parts of northern England 

There were also delays on Southeastern trains towards London between Maidstone East and West Malling because of ice causing power supply problems.

Meanwhile the bad weather has continued to hit power supplies with 273 homes blacked out near Penzance and 300 at Launceston in Cornwall, and another 300 families shivered with no heating or lights near Worcester.

The weather also led to the closure of Dudley Zoo while a football match between Kidderminster Harriers and AFC Telford United was called off. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom. 

Swan Pool park in Stourbridge was busy with sledgers all day yesterday while skiers in Scotland enjoyed the slopes at the Lecht ski centre which was open to locals living in Moray and Aberdeenshire.

Elsewhere, hardy swimmers braved freezing conditions to take a dip in Derwent Water at Keswick in the Lake District.

Gales meant that for the first time more than half of Britain’s electricity was generated by wind power on Saturday. Energy firm Drax said 50.67 per cent of the country’s power was produced by wind turbines on Boxing Day. 

Categories
Headlines UK Sheffield

British supermarkets began to import vegetables and fruits by air

Lufthansa has already delivered 80 tons of food

British supermarkets and their suppliers fear that in the coming days there will be a shortage of fresh vegetables and fruits in the country, writes The Guardian. Testing of truck drivers on the border with France has already begun, but it will take a long time to test everyone. In addition, the terms of trade and import of goods may change following the conclusion of the Brexit trade deal.

One of the supermarkets (the name has not been specified) has already begun to import fruits and vegetables from Spain and North Africa by air. On December 23, Lufthansa delivered 80 tons of food from Frankfurt to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, including several types of lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries and citrus fruits.

Air Charter Services, a freight company, has received an order for 300 flights to transport fruits and vegetables. According to company representatives, the volume of orders this year is 300% higher than last year – then Air Charter Services imported fabrics, auto parts and pharmaceuticals to Britain.

It is noted that not all stores can afford air freight due to the high cost of services. However, retailers urge the British not to buy for future use: potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts and canned food from the shelves will not go anywhere.

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Headlines UK London Sheffield

Huge shopping queues form as supermarkets airlift in European supplies

Huge queues formed this morning as supermarkets airlifted in fruit and vegetables in an attempt to avoid shortages of fresh produce caused by the chaos at Dover.

The British Retail Consortium has warned that there could be a lack of some fresh goods until the backlog of trucks is cleared, while the Food and Drink Federation is warning of ‘significant disruption’.

Meanwhile, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested the border mayhem could last up to the New Year as the Army and NHS rush to test every driver in a queue of up to 6,000 lorries.

The requirement to test all drivers heading to Europe – a key condition of France agreeing to restart trade – is delaying the speed at which lorries can restock on the Continent before returning to Britain.

German airline Lufthansa yesterday flew in 80 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables into the UK for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, the Co-op and Aldi as thousands of hauliers remained stranded at the Kent border.

The airlift, which included lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, citrus fruits, and strawberries, came as Tesco began rationing several items and experts warned the border reopening was not soon enough to prevent shortages.

The Lufthansa airlift was commissioned by Venus, an Egyptian fruit supplier that is used by UK supermarkets. It landed at Doncaster Sheffield Airport just before 2pm yesterday, Lufthansa told MailOnline. 

A long queue stretches around the Silverlink Retail Park in North Tyneside this morning as Xmas shoppers wait in line at 7am for the M&S food hall to open

The British Retail Consortium has warned that there could be a lack of some fresh goods until the backlog of trucks at Dover is cleared

The British Retail Consortium has warned that there could be a lack of some fresh goods until the backlog of trucks at Dover is cleared

Long queues at Bell & Sons butches in Bermondsey, London this morning as people wait to pick up their meat for their Christmas dinners

Long queues at Bell & Sons butches in Bermondsey, London this morning as people wait to pick up their meat for their Christmas dinners

Most people would have needed to pre-order their turkeys from the butchers in time for Christmas. Pictured is a queue outside a butchers in Bermondsey

Most people would have needed to pre-order their turkeys from the butchers in time for Christmas. Pictured is a queue outside a butchers in Bermondsey 

Bell and Sons sources all of its meat, poultry and game from within the UK, so will not be affected by any issues at Dover

Bell and Sons sources all of its meat, poultry and game from within the UK, so will not be affected by any issues at Dover 

Food and Drink Federation CEO Ian Wright told The Grocer: ‘News of an agreement to allow hauliers with a negative Covid test to enter France is very welcome progress.’

But he added: ‘Even working extremely quickly and with Calais possibly shut for Christmas Day, it is clear it could take until the new year to return to normal operations. Lorries will take time to return to their normal pattern of collection and delivery.

‘That means we are likely to see, locally, reduced on-shelf availability of some fresh vegetables and fruits, beginning next week. We will also see potential significant disruption to the flow of ingredients into the UK.’ 

MailOnline has contacted all the major supermarkets to ask if they had also put new restrictions in place.

Sainsbury’s, M&S, Morrisons and Aldi all said no, while Waitrose said had been restricting customers to two packs of toilet roll and three bags of flour for ‘a substantial period of time’. Lidl is yet to reply.

All supermarkets said they had plenty of stock.

Tesco maintains in-store limits on flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes are due to coronavirus panic buying – not concerns about the impending Brexit deadline or problems at Dover.

There are concerns over shortages of fresh goods amid the backlog at Dover.

British Retail Consortium director of food Andrew Opie said: ‘It is good news for consumers as the French borders have now reopened, however it is essential that lorries get moving across the border as quickly as possible.

‘Until the backlog is cleared and supply chains return to normal, we anticipate issues with the availability of some fresh goods.’ 

Yesterday's Lufthansa airlift, which includes a large consignment of strawberries, comes as Tesco began rationing several items and experts warned today's border reopening did not come soon enough to prevent shortages

Yesterday’s Lufthansa airlift, which includes a large consignment of strawberries, comes as Tesco began rationing several items and experts warned today’s border reopening did not come soon enough to prevent shortages

Yesterday's airlift was commissioned by Venus, an Egyptian fruit supplier that is used by UK supermarkets. Pictured are some of the goods in the hold

Yesterday’s airlift was commissioned by Venus, an Egyptian fruit supplier that is used by UK supermarkets. Pictured are some of the goods in the hold 

The B777 Freighter (LH8352) landed into Doncaster Sheffield Airport at 1.50pm with lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli and citrus fruits on board for Tesco, Sainsbury's, Aldi and The Co-op

The B777 Freighter (LH8352) landed into Doncaster Sheffield Airport at 1.50pm with lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli and citrus fruits on board for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and The Co-op

Additional special cargo flights currently under examination, a spokesman for the German airline told MailOnline yesterday

Additional special cargo flights currently under examination, a spokesman for the German airline told MailOnline yesterday

All the ingredients and produce needed for a traditional Christmas dinner are already in the country and available to consumers, the BRC said.

But if empty lorries are not allowed into France to restock, there will be shortages of fresh produce, with supplies of salad, vegetables and fresh fruit such as strawberries and raspberries most at risk as they are typically imported from the continent at this time of year.

It came as dozens of truckers trying to reach their homes on the Continent tried to force their way past officers guarding the port of Dover.

Yesterday, hundreds left their cabs and walked along the A20 to the port entrance in Kent at 8am jeering and whistling, with some shouting in English: ‘Open the border’, ‘We just want to go home’ and ‘F*** you, Boris!’

At one point several of them surged forwards towards a line of Kent Police officers who were forced to push them back as days of simmering anger at the chaotic situation amid the Covid-19 pandemic bubbled to the surface. Some drivers showed police apparently negative results, but an officer said a lot of them were ‘fake test sheets’.

Tensions also boiled over 18 miles away at Manston Airport, where truckers whose lorries are being held staged a protest, broke down fences and blocked roads.

The Army and NHS staff are working together to administer Covid-19 tests at the airport, which are handed to drivers in their cabs to be self-administered under supervision.

The result will then be communicated to the driver via text or email, identifying them via their numberplate.

Shoppers at a Tesco Extra in south-east London this morning. Tesco has limited purchases of toilet roll, eggs, flour, pasta, soap and handwash

Shoppers at a Tesco Extra in south-east London this morning. Tesco has limited purchases of toilet roll, eggs, flour, pasta, soap and handwash

Tesco says the limits are due to coronavirus panic buying - not concerns about the impending Brexit deadline or problems at Dover

Tesco says the limits are due to coronavirus panic buying – not concerns about the impending Brexit deadline or problems at Dover

Two more test sites were yesterday being set up at the Dreamland amusement park in Margate and at the entrance to the Port of Dover, but the junction was blocked by vans and cars with some even parked in the wrong direction.

Earlier this month it was revealed Tesco was stockpiling in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

John Allan, the chairman of Tesco, believes the average shopping bill could go up five per cent and also claimed French cheeses like brie could be 40 per cent more expensive if there is no EU trade deal.

But critics have said there is plenty of British brie to eat and the UK is already importing 20 per cent less cheese from abroad every year.

Mr Allan, who joined the supermarket last year, said: ‘Tesco is getting ready for the worst case which is a No Deal, trying to ensure as much as we can that we stockpile long life products either in our warehouses or with our suppliers.

‘We are trying to minimise the risk of food being caught in what is probably going to be the most difficult place, which is the port of Dover.

‘We may have some shortages of fresh foods, particularly short life fresh foods. I think that will only be for a limited period, a month or two before we get back to normal.

‘There might just be slightly restricted choice for a period of time’.   

Battle to get truckers home: French firemen join fight to ease backlog of 6,000 lorries but THEY insist on personally doing Covid tests – while British testers allow far less effective self swabs

By James Fielding, James Robinson and Tom Pyman for MailOnline   

French firefighters armed with 10,000 testing kits have today joined the battle to get thousands of stranded lorry drivers across the Channel, with up to 6,000 lorries now stacked up in Kent.

A group of 24 firefighters from the continent have joined the testing effort, personally administering the swabs to lorry drivers after President Emmanuel Macron demanded truckers be tested before crossing the Channel.

Around 100 NHS staff and 170 Armed Forces personnel are leading the UK’s testing drive this morning, aiming to test hundreds of truckers per hour in a bid to clear the backlog.

Unlike the French firefighters, the British testing teams are passing the swabs to the lorry drivers to self-administer – a method considered less effective due to the depth swabs have to administered into the nose.

It comes as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today announced ferries and Eurostar services between Dover and Calais will run over Christmas in a bid to end the backlog. He said last night he hoped backlog could be fixed ‘by New Year’. Others experts say the backlog could take days to clear.

Lorries have been stacking-up on the M20 and in Marston Airfield in Kent since Sunday, when France slammed shut the border after the identification of a new mutant strain of Covid-19 in the UK.

French firefighters armed with 10,000 testing kits have joined the battle to get thousands of stranded lorry drivers across the Channel today, with up to 6,000 lorries now stacked up in Kent

French firefighters armed with 10,000 testing kits have joined the battle to get thousands of stranded lorry drivers across the Channel today, with up to 6,000 lorries now stacked up in Kent

A group of 24 firefighters from the continent have joined the testing effort, personally administering the swabs to lorry drivers after President Emmanuel Macron demanded truckers be swabbed before being allowed to cross the Channel

A group of 24 firefighters from the continent have joined the testing effort, personally administering the swabs to lorry drivers after President Emmanuel Macron demanded truckers be swabbed before being allowed to cross the Channel

Unlike the the French firefighters, the British testing teams are passing over the swabs for lorry drivers to self-administer - a method which is considered less effective

Unlike the the French firefighters, the British testing teams are passing over the swabs for lorry drivers to self-administer – a method which is considered less effective

Huge shopping queues form as supermarkets airlift in European fruit and vegetables in an attempt to stop food shortages caused by ports chaos 

Huge queues formed this morning as supermarkets airlifted in fruit and vegetables in an attempt to avoid shortages of fresh produce caused by the chaos at Dover.

The British Retail Consortium has warned that there could be a lack of some fresh goods until the backlog of trucks is cleared, while the Food and Drink Federation is warning of ‘significant disruption’.

Meanwhile, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps suggested the border mayhem could last up to the New Year as the Army and NHS rush to test every driver in a queue of up to 6,000 lorries.

The requirement to test all drivers heading to Europe – a key condition of France agreeing to restart trade – is delaying the speed at which lorries can restock on the Continent before returning to Britain.

German airline Lufthansa yesterday flew in 80 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables into the UK for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, the Co-op and Aldi as thousands of hauliers remained stranded at the Kent border.

The airlift, which included lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, citrus fruits, and strawberries, came as Tesco began rationing several items and experts warned the border reopening was not soon enough to prevent shortages.

The Lufthansa airlift was commissioned by Venus, an Egyptian fruit supplier that is used by UK supermarkets. It landed at Doncaster Sheffield Airport just before 2pm yesterday, Lufthansa told MailOnline.

Food and Drink Federation CEO Ian Wright told The Grocer: ‘Last night’s news of an agreement to allow hauliers with a negative Covid test to enter France is very welcome progress.’

But he added: ‘Even working extremely quickly and with Calais possibly shut for Christmas Day, it is clear it could take until the new year to return to normal operations. Lorries will take time to return to their normal pattern of collection and delivery.

‘That means we are likely to see, locally, reduced on-shelf availability of some fresh vegetables and fruits, beginning next week. We will also see potential significant disruption to the flow of ingredients into the UK.’

MailOnline has contacted all the major supermarkets to ask if they had also put new restrictions in place.

Sainsbury’s, M&S, Morrisons and Aldi all said no, while Waitrose said had been restricting customers to two packs of toilet roll and three bags of flour for ‘a substantial period of time’. Lidl is yet to reply.

All supermarkets said they had plenty of stock.

Tensions boiled over last night in Kent as frustrated lorry drivers, who had been stuck at the border for days, waited to get a positive test.

One Polish lorry driver has told how he had to make the heartbreaking call to his pregnant wife and daughters telling them he was unlikely to make it home for Christmas, and would instead be spending it in his cab stuck on the A20 in Dover.

Wojtek Golawski is one of thousands of truckers stranded in Kent and facing disappointment over the festive season, with just 200 tests an hour being carried out on Wednesday.

There was then more confusion as it emerged that testing on Jubilee Way, the main route into the Port of Dover, was shut down last night before 10pm.  

The Department for Transport insists the immediate priority had been to clear the main backlog of vehicles along that road, that testing would resume there in the morning, and that a 24/7 operation was also in force at Manston Airport, where thousands are parked up, and on the M20 motorway.

A spokesman added that the absence of testers in Dover overnight wouldn’t prevent access to the port, while the number of drivers tested each hour on Thursday is expected to ramp up to 500 or 600, with officials looking to set up ten mobile testing units for truckers stuck in queues.  

Wojtek, from Lukow in Poland, had travelled to Britain in Sunday with pallets full of clothes, which he delivered to a depot in Nottingham. Like thousands of other delivery drivers, the 34-year-old has been stuck in Kent since the weekend.

Police have finally started letting drivers into the Port of Dover to be tested for coronavirus and, if negative, they can begin their journeys home.

Around 6,000 lorries, 4,000 at Manston Airfield and 2,000 on the M20, are said to be waiting to cross the Channel. Highways England has warned all drivers – including hauliers – to avoid travelling to Kent until further notice due to continued cross-channel disruption.

Grant Shapps last night said he was unsure at how long it would take to clear the backlog, but said he hoped it would be sorted ‘by New Year’. Today he tweeted that ferry and Eurostar services between Dover and Calais would continue over Christmas to help ease the backlog of lorries. 

Wojtek, meanwhile, is parked a mile and a half from the front of the queue and so will almost certainly not make it back home in time to see his two girls aged three and five open their presents.

He said: ‘It’s a horrible situation and it shouldn’t have got to this, I think it’s France trying to flex their muscles before Brexit.

‘But it means that I’m not going to make it home to my daughters and to my wife, who is seven months pregnant.

‘I had to make a very tough phone call to her earlier this evening to say that the problems in England meant I would have to miss Christmas this year.

‘She and the girls were very upset and so was I. It’s going to be depressing celebrating it on my own in the same lorry cab I’ve spent the last two nights sleeping in.

‘But this is what’s happening and I have to accept it. Even if I make the ferry to France tomorrow, it’s still a huge drive.

‘Miracles do happen, especially at this time of year, but I think I’ll be in England for a few more days at least.’

A driver checks his COVID-19 lateral flow test at the Port of Dover, Kent, where thousands are waiting to resume their journey across The Channel after the borders with France reopened

A driver checks his COVID-19 lateral flow test at the Port of Dover, Kent, where thousands are waiting to resume their journey across The Channel after the borders with France reopened

It comes as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today announced ferries and Eurostar services between Dover and Calais will run over Christmas in a bid to end the backlog. He said last night he hoped backlog could be fixed 'by New Year'

It comes as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today announced ferries and Eurostar services between Dover and Calais will run over Christmas in a bid to end the backlog. He said last night he hoped backlog could be fixed ‘by New Year’

Categories
Headlines UK London

Welsh shoppers are left outraged after supermarkets cordon off non-essential items

Shoppers in Wales have been left outraged after supermarkets cordoned off non-essential items days before Christmas under the country’s shock Covid crackdown.

Pictures today emerged of Sainsbury’s in Pontypridd which blocked off non-essential sections of the store using large red barricades.

Sainsbury’s say the items – including clothing and Christmas decorations – are blocked off ‘in line with the Welsh government’s guidance’.

From midnight last night, Wales was thrust into a full lockdown – forcing all non-essential shops to close their doors and slashing Christmas bubbles to a single day.

Many questioned whether the non-essential shopping rules would bring the same chaos as the country’s 17-day firebreak lockdown in October.

Pictures today emerged of Sainsbury’s in Pontypridd which blocked off non-essential sections of the store using large red barricades (pictured)

Clothing and Christmas decorations were among the areas cut off to shoppers at Sainsbury's in Pontypridd

Clothing and Christmas decorations were among the areas cut off to shoppers at Sainsbury’s in Pontypridd

The clothing section in Pontypridd's Sainsbury's was blocked off to customers with a sign urging people to buy only what is essential

The clothing section in Pontypridd’s Sainsbury’s was blocked off to customers with a sign urging people to buy only what is essential

The lockdown sparked ‘trolley police’ madness with some shoppers claiming sanitary towels and baby formula were all labelled ‘non-essential’.

Others slammed the rules for coming so close to Christmas, with many now unable to buy items such as electronics or baby clothing as presents.  

Nathan took to Twitter to ask First Minister of Wales Make Drakeford for clarity on the rules, writing: ‘Can you please clarify the position of supermarkets in wales selling non-essential items. 

‘With the new imposed tier 4 level of restrictions and non-essential shops closing. Are we under the same rules as the firebreak lockdown?’

But it seems not all supermarkets are blocking off sections of their store, as shoppers were seen browsing the clothes, toys and homeware aisles at Tesco Extra in Cardiff. Tesco are following the Government's guidelines

But it seems not all supermarkets are blocking off sections of their store, as shoppers were seen browsing the clothes, toys and homeware aisles at Tesco Extra in Cardiff. Tesco are following the Government’s guidelines

From midnight last night, Wales was thrust into a full lockdown - forcing all non-essential shops to close their doors and slashing Christmas bubbles to a single day. Pictured: A closed shopping arcade in Cardiff

From midnight last night, Wales was thrust into a full lockdown – forcing all non-essential shops to close their doors and slashing Christmas bubbles to a single day. Pictured: A closed shopping arcade in Cardiff

Workers removed Christmas decorations from Christmas markets on the Hayes in Cardiff today

Workers removed Christmas decorations from Christmas markets on the Hayes in Cardiff today

A man walked past a Cardiff cafe with a Merry Christmas sign on December 20 after all non-essential shops were forced to shut

A man walked past a Cardiff cafe with a Merry Christmas sign on December 20 after all non-essential shops were forced to shut

He added: ‘God forbid my Nan needs a new duvet over the lockdown period as Asda Aberdare have restrictions on certain items – but if she needed a whisk we’re in luck. 

‘Maybe more clarity was needed before you plunged us back into chaos.’

Mel Wright wrote: ‘You made a statement to the children of Wales that Santa will still be able to visit. 

‘Please don’t stop supermarkets from selling non-essential items so that parents that still need to can buy Christmas presents. Not everyone can online shop.’ 

Joel Williams said: ‘Supermarkets across Wales are being told to cordon off certain shopping aisles and not sell “non essential” items.

‘This crazy decision by Welsh Government erodes the faith and trust the public have in the politicians making these important decisions.’

Others shared pictures of the huge queues forming outside supermarkets as panicked Christmas shoppers rushed to buy their gifts. 

Many pointed out that parents would be waiting for payday on December 21 before buying presents for their children. 

Naomi Wolf added: ‘How does removing non-essential items help public health if folks are shopping anyway for “essential items”? 

‘Non-essential items protect public health by allowing shop owners who are not Amazon, to eat and have shelter. Are there ANY studies about “shopping for nonessential items”?’

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: ‘In line with the Welsh government’s guidance we are limiting sales in our stores to food and other essential items only.’

But it seems not all supermarkets are blocking off sections of their store, as shoppers were seen browsing the clothes, toys and homeware aisles at Tesco Extra in Cardiff. 

Tesco are following the Government’s guidelines. 

Boris Johnson yesterday revealed that a third of England – including London and swathes of the home counties – would be thrust into Tier 4 lockdown from midnight on Saturday to get to grips with a mutant Covid strain running rampant in the south. 

The Welsh government previously broke ranks with the rest of the UK by scaling back Christmas bubbles, in effect from December 23 to 27, from three to two households.

And last night First Minister Mark Drakeford said its Level 4 lockdown will come into effect from midnight yesterday, rather than waiting until December 28.

The latest evidence suggests this new strain is present throughout Wales,’ Mr Drakeford said. ‘The situation is incredibly serious. I cannot overstate this.

‘We have therefore reached the difficult decision to bring forward the alert level four restrictions for Wales, in line with the action being taken in London and the South East of England.

‘These new restrictions will come into effect from midnight tonight instead of during the Christmas period.

‘This will mean non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres and hospitality will close at the end of trading today. Stay-at-home restrictions will also come into effect from midnight.’ 

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Headline USA

Global ginger shortage could last until February as supermarkets vow to meet demand

Global ginger shortage could last until FEBRUARY as China’s struggling harvest season is only just starting – but UK supermarkets vow to meet festive demand from British bakers

  • Poor ginger harvest in China could result in shortages until February next year 
  • Pandemic saw a rise in demand as suppliers in Brazil and Peru couldn’t keep up
  • Prices expected to remain the same as supermarkets ensure they will have stock 

A global shortage of ginger caused by poor harvests in China could last until February, an expert has warned.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s sold out of the ground spice online over the weekend, while Asda had none of the fresh root available, sparking fears for Christmas treats like ginger-bread men.

UK supermarkets remain adamant they can meet demand from eager British bakers after sales of ginger soared over the course of 2020. 

But with China’s struggling harvest season only just getting under way, spice wholesaler Nilay Kamdar has warned the problem could persist all winter. 

Poor ginger harvests in China have resulted in a shortage which could last until February, a leading UK supplier has warned 

Mr Kamdar, director of spice supplier Pan United, told MailOnline: ‘In general there’s been a shortage of high quality ginger in the UK and Europe since July.

Nilay Kamdar is director of Pan United, which supplies ginger to the UK and Europe

Nilay Kamdar is director of Pan United, which supplies ginger to the UK and Europe 

‘Ginger demand has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, on top of a poor harvest in China, it’s created a combination of factors that have caused the shortage.’

Mr Kamdar explained a difficult start to the ginger season in November 2019 meant there were lower high-quality yields of the root, meaning demand grew for supplies from Brazil and Peru.

The ginger season is just beginning again in China, but Mr Kamdar said there’s ‘not enough time,’ to catch up with demand. 

Tesco and Asda say they will have enough stocks of ginger for shoppers, while there is not expected to be any sudden hike in prices.

Mr Kamdar said: ‘Generally with supermarkets prices don’t tend to rise. 

‘It’s just the quality of the ginger that is going to be effected. Retail prices will remain the same but wholesale may change.’

Asda said a delay at ports in November caused a ‘temporary shortage on a single line of ground ginger’.  

A spokesman from the retail giant confirmed it had ‘good availability going forwards’.

Mr Kamdar confirmed delays at ports, in part caused by a lack of drivers.

Supermarkets remain adamant that they will have enough ginger to meet demand from shoppers in the build up to Christmas

Supermarkets remain adamant that they will have enough ginger to meet demand from shoppers in the build up to Christmas

China was responsible for around 37 per cent of the world’s ginger exports in 2019. 

In a statement, Tesco said: ‘This year more of us have been cooking from scratch than ever before, using our time at home to discover new flavours and cuisines. 

‘As a result, some products such as root ginger are in higher demand than usual. 

‘We’re working hard to respond to this and have more deliveries coming to stores every day.’

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: ‘We are running low on some ginger lines in some stores. We expect to return to full availability very soon.’ 

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Entertainment UK

Primark, Aldi and Waitrose changing opening hours after lockdown ends December 2


Supermarkets and retailers are shaking up their opening hours when lockdown ends.

Some of the biggest names on the high street will be making changes from December 2.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson today outlined new rules for the tier-three system which will be replacing the England national lockdown next week.

The move from retailers comes in a bid to ensure Christmas shoppers can get their goods before the big day – and to stop shops being so crammed that social distancing is not possible.

M&S is opening shops until midnight, with Aldi ensuring supermarkets stay open until 11pm from December 21 to December 23, reports Birmingham Live.

Waitrose’s smaller stores will be open later

Waitrose said smaller stores will stay open until 11pm on December 21, 22 and 23, while larger branches will close at 10pm.

Primark, meanwhile, says it intends to operate longer when non-essential retail is allowed again.

A spokeswoman for Primark said: “Associated British Foods Plc are calling for extended trading hours for Primark stores once they re-open in December.”

M&S today confirmed its longer hours will apply on December 21, 22 and 23 and applies to 400 of its stores – around two-thirds of its operation in England.

Aldi stores will be open later in the days before Christmas

The branches which don’t stay open until midnight will be open until 10pm.

Sacha Berendji, M&S’s Retail, operations and property director said: “We want our customers to be able to shop with confidence this Christmas, which means supporting social distancing in our stores and minimal queueing outside as the weather gets colder.

“To help with this, we’ll be operating our longest ever opening hours just before Christmas.

“Along with the wider industry, we continue to ask for Sunday trading hours to be extended to help us increase our capacity to serve everyone safely this festive season.”





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Entertainment UK

Linda Nolan opens up about receiving counselling for mental health amid cancer


Linda Nolan has revealed that she is receiving regular counselling sessions tp help with her mental health while battling cancer.

The 61-year-old singer, who was diagnosed with incurable liver cancer earlier this year, admitted that it came as a shock to be classed as vulnerable during the pandemic and forced to stay at home.

Linda is now shielding with her sister Denise, and has revealed that she has received regular counselling sessions that have proved really helpful throughout the past few months.

Speaking to LancsLive, the television personality opened up about coming to terms with staying at home as well as receiving professional support for her mental health.

“We had just come out of isolating and I had been in hospital for a week in September with pneumonia,” Linda told the publication.

“When I got home I get the letter about going into lockdown to isolate and all of that. And it was a shock, it was like oh my gosh, what am I going to do? You know, don’t go to supermarkets and you think oh gosh, I love a little wander around the supermarkets.

Linda Nolan revealed that she is receiving counselling twice a month

Linda – who has been very open about her mental health battle – went on to urge fans to contact their GP if they are seeking support.

She continued: “I have mental health problems that I’ve spoken about many times, depression for a long time. I’m on anti-depressants.

“I have counselling at the moment. I have it once every two weeks at the moment. It really helps, and again it lets you know that there’s stuff out there for you. Phone your GP, we have a great GP.”

Linda’s sister Denise got her flu jab in order to help protect vulnerable people

Linda explained that health care professionals were able to support her as she battled mental health, and she also often tries to have a chat to her neighbours.

She added: “Mental health wise, I’m still taking my tablets and like I say, if you phone your GP they can put you in touch with other people even just a phone call sometimes to someone breaks your day up and lets them know that they’re not on their own.

“My neighbours, I say hello to a lot of my neighbours now and I walking up to Denise’s today and some of neighbours were out and they said to me ‘are you okay, do you need anything’ which I thought was lovely.

Linda and Denise also went on to detail the process of getting their flu jabs, in order to help keep people safe during the winter months.

The actress, 61, and her sister Anne, 69, told the world about their cancer battles over the summer

Both sisters told the publication that it had been a “no brainer” to get the flu-jab in order to protect vulnerable groups and support the NHS.

Denise said: “I do get the flu jab every year but in this instance, particularly because of Linda’s illness I can’t even imagine passing the flu onto her with the way she is because it could kill her and especially if it came with Covid as well, well that’s it. It’s a no brainer, it has to be done.”

The Nolans also reassured fans that the process was “pain-free” and urged readers to get their flu jabs this winter.

The Nolan sisters, Anne, Denise, Maureen, Linda and Bernadette.

Linda and her older sister Anne, 69, revealed this summer that they were both battling cancer.

Since then, the sisters have been keeping fans updated about their treatment and remaining positive.

Just days ago, Linda told fans that she was feeling “well” as she awaited the results of her latest scans after finishing chemotherapy in September.

Do you have a story to sell? Get in touch with us at [email protected] or call us direct 0207 29 33033.





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Headlines UK

Residents of England are most often infected with coronavirus in supermarkets


Also in schools, hospitals and nursing homes

British people are most often infected with coronavirus in supermarkets, according to Public Health England (PHE). Experts came to such conclusions after analyzing the data of the NHS Test and Trace application.

From November 9 to 15, 128 thousand Britons tested positive for COVID-19, writes Sky News. NHS representatives were able to restore the chain of contacts and determine the location where the infection was most likely to occur.

In the first place in terms of frequency were supermarkets that remain open at the current lockdown. Schools ranked second, followed by hospitals and nursing homes by a wide margin. In percentage terms, locations are distributed as follows:

– supermarkets – 18.3%;

– secondary schools – 12.7%;

– primary schools – 10.1%

– hospitals – 3.6%;

– nursing homes – 2.8%;

– colleges – 2.4%;

– warehouses – 2.2%;

– kindergartens – 1.8%;

– pubs and bars – 1.6%;

– entertainment establishments – 1.5%;

– universities – 1.4%;

– factories and plants – 1.4%;

– families with less than five people – 1.2%;

– offices of general practitioners – 1.1%;

– gyms – 1.1%;

– restaurants and cafes – 1.0%.

UK government scientific advisers warn that Christmas is unlikely to go on as usual: the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still high.





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Entertainment UK

Benny The Butcher ‘shot in the leg during attempted robbery at supermarket’


Benny The Butcher has reportedly been shot in the leg during a supermarket robbery.

The rapper, whose real name is Jeremie Damon Pennick, visited a Walmart in Houston, Texas, with a group of friends on Saturday when they were shot at in the car park, it’s claimed.

Benny was rushed to hospital for treatment but his condition is said to be unknown at this time.

A group of five robbers allegedly pulled up next to them and demanded their jewellery.

When Benny, 35, and his friends didn’t move quick enough one of the thieves shot at Benny before fleeing the scene, according to TMZ.

Benny The Butcher has reportedly been shot in the leg during a supermarket robbery

The site reports that Benny and his pals then drove off before pulling over to call the police.

Police said the men who attempted to rob him are still at large, and an investigation is underway.

A TMZ source said: “The New York rapper was in town Saturday and visiting a local Walmart with a couple friends in tow.

A gang of thieves allegedly demanded he hand over his jewellery

“While they were in their car in the lot, we’re told a car with 5 guys inside pulled up next to them and whipped out guns … demanding their chains.

“Apparently, Benny and co. were moving too slow for the alleged robbers’ liking… and cops say one of the 5 fired a round into Benny’s leg, which caused the crooks to flee.

“We’re told Benny and his friends booked it too, but eventually pulled over and called the police.”

Benny was rushed to hospital for treatment but his condition is unknown at this time

Police said the men who attempted to rob him are also still at large

Mirror Online has contacted Benny’s reps for comment.

Rolling Stone featured Benny in its list of fastest-rising-up-and coming artists last month.

He is part of the hip hop group Griselda and frequently works with his first-cousins Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine.





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Headline USA

Some supermarkets once again limit the sale of toilet paper and disinfectant wipes | The NY Journal


Toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies began to run low during the last week of October.

Photo:
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Some supermarket chains are putting limits on the purchase of certain items, including toilet paper and the wet wipes because COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in the United States and as a way to prevent consumers from hoarding products and to allow shelves to stay stocked.

About 19 percent of products such as toilet paper, paper towels, as well as 16 percent of the household cleaning products were sold out during the last week of October, according to a report by market research company IRI.

Through a statement the chain of stores Kroger reported that “it has temporarily established purchase limits of up to two items per customer in products such as toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant wipes and hand soap ”. The measure came into force since last Monday.

The supermarket chain Giant, which has more than 190 stores in the country, started from last week to put a limit of one on purchases of toilet paper and paper towels. Christopher Brand, a spokesman for the company, said in a statement to Pennlive.com “that there is no reason to cause panic after announcing the measure.”

In Texas, the supermarket chain H-E-B has been applying similar measures since last October 21 when it established purchase limits in disinfectant sprays, antibacterial, cleaning gloves, first aid products, alcohol, Y disinfectant wipes limiting only two products per person, according to a press release.

Related: First it was toilet paper: now the coronavirus is curiously caused by a shortage of refrigerators and other appliances

Americans have mentioned that they also plan to store food and other essentials fearing an increase in possible electoral unrest, according to a survey by the ROKK research group.

Near to 60% of consumers plan to stock up on essentials as winter approaches, according to a survey of more than 1,000 buyers conducted by market research firm Inmar Inteligente during the week of October 14, CNN reported.

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