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Coronavirus: City of Toronto enables 24-hour retail deliveries for re-stocking shelves

Coronavirus outbreak: Long lines seen in Ontario grocery stores as locals stock up on supplies in case of COVID-19 quarantine
WATCH ABOVE; Coronavirus outbreak: Long lines seen in Ontario grocery stores as locals stock up on supplies in case of COVID-19 quarantine (March 13, 2020)

The City of Toronto says effective immediately, and until further notice, businesses will be able to get deliveries 24-7 to keep up with stocking shelves amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The city said all retail businesses are exempt from the City of Toronto Noise Bylaw to facilitate after-hour deliveries in response to “extraordinary circumstances” affecting the immediate health, safety or welfare of the community.

The exemption will allow retailers to receive deliveries 24 hours of a day, seven days a week to ensure essential goods remain in stock, the city said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Reports of lengthy lines, shelves running low at several Ontario grocery stores

“There is no need for residents to panic-buy and stockpile. While being prepared for emergencies is always advised, any bulk purchasing beyond a two-week supply jeopardizes the ability of vulnerable people to access essential food and health supplies,” municipal officials said in a statement.

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The City said it made the move after the issue was raised by the Retail Council of Canada.

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Videos and photos have emerged on social media over the last week of empty shelves and long line ups at grocery stores across the region.

READ MORE: ‘We have plenty of food’: Ontario government urges calm amid pandemic panic buying

“We are taking this action to help Toronto businesses get deliveries and continue to stock their shelves with essential goods for our residents. By exempting retail businesses from the city’s noise bylaw right now, we will ensure that retailers can receive deliveries 24 hours of a day, seven days a week,” Mayor John Tory said.

“This action is part of the city’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and my focus on protecting the people of Toronto, including our most vulnerable residents, and helping businesses.”