Hornsby Shire Council will suspend the restrictions on truck movements and delivery times to help local supermarkets keep their shelves stocked.

Hornsby Shire General Manager Steven Head said this is a temporary measure and a direct response to the COVID-19 situation.

“The empty supermarket shelves are causing significant distress in our community, particularly when there is no actual shortage of products,” Mr Head said.

“There is no problem with supply, the difficulty is getting the products from the distribution centres to the supermarkets fast enough to meet demand.

“Council is relaxing these restrictions to allow the supermarkets to use their best endeavours to meet this unprecedented demand.

“This will be an inconvenience to some residents living along the delivery routes, but it is essential for the benefit of the community.”

The concession will be reviewed every week and the restrictions will resume when the current health situation has ended.

Council is working with each of the supermarket chains to ensure that the arrangements will enable them to restock their stores quickly and efficiently.

This decision is in line with recent advice from the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, asking councils to adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach to the unprecedented situation.

Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock appealed to residents not to stockpile goods, insisting there is no need to so.

“Australia is not going to run out of toilet paper or any of the other products that people are buying in bulk,” he said.

“The stockpiling has created a self-perpetuating atmosphere of crisis that is not justified.

“The elderly and disabled in our community are particularly suffering as a result of this overreaction to the current situation.

“I implore all residents to exercise restraint and think of your neighbours.

“Every extra item you take from the shelves is one that somebody else will not be able to buy – and there’s a strong chance they need it more than you do.”