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Coronavirus update

“There will be no shortage of food”

As Emmanuel Macron announced the strengthening of precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus, the fruit and vegetable sector is getting organized. As with many companies, teleworking is preferred whenever possible. On the French market at the moment, the sales of some products have intensified in order to supply purchasing centers, as many stores have experienced a particularly large influx in recent days.

Rungis remains open
The International Market of Rungis remains open. “Access to the market is unrestricted and everything is working normally,” according to Semmaris in a press release. However, several actors of the sector are worried about the market supply for the coming weeks. “In all the production countries - Italy, Spain, France and others - there will be a shortage of labor to harvest. And, more generally speaking, there is less activity in the whole sector, due to the lack of people and the restrictions imposed or simply because people are getting sick. But there is no reason to close Rungis. People still need to eat,” according to a source at the market.

Stéphane Layani, president of the market, announced: “Rest assured that at Rungis, we are doing everything in our power so that the activity can continue on the market, while taking the necessary precautions to protect everyone, from wholesalers to buyers or market staff. You can count on our collective intelligence to continue to supply France with fresh quality products.”

Supermarkets will continue to get their supplies
As in several European countries, the coronavirus has caused unusual purchases throughout France. Stores were stormed and shelves emptied despite the call from politicians and supermarkets to continue to shop normally.

“The supply safety of the French in food products and basic necessities is guaranteed today as well as in the coming weeks. There will be no shortage,” announced Bruno Le Maire in a speech, French minister of Economy and Finance. By his side: Didier Guillaume (Minister of Agriculture and Food) and Stéphane Layani, president of the International Market of Rungis.

Didier Guillaume, Bruno Le Maire and Stéphane Layani

Supermarkets have not failed to emphasize that the supply chain will continue to work. “All our stores remain open, our supply chain will work and there is no shortage,” according to Carrefour. Dominique Schelcher, president of Système U, has asked the French to buy in a civil manner. “Be reasonable because there is enough supply.”

Restaurants can continue their take-out business
Restaurants are also affected by the government’s decision, on Saturday, March 14th, to close “all public places not essential to the life of the country”. Luckily, they can continue to sell take-out products and carry out home deliveries. A possibility for some restaurants to sell off part of their stocks and ensure a minimum of activity in this time of crisis. But in spite of it all, many will suffer losses.

In order to avoid waste, restaurant owners have decided to continue to cook their dishes and distribute them in the streets, to organizations and to their employees. Some online reservation platforms for restaurants, such as La Fourchette, are calling for solidarity, inviting to “show support to local restaurant owners and save their unsold merchandise.” Initiatives of this type are all welcome, in a time when mutual support is essential to face this unprecedented crisis.

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