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Corona crisis: pasta available again, toilet paper (not yet)

Hamster purchases appear to be declining in German supermarkets. “We are seeing that the shelves are filling up more and more,” said the spokesman for the Federal Association of German Food Trade (BVLH), Christian Böttcher. This also applies to products that are in high demand, such as pasta or rice. Large retail chains provided similar information at the request of the dpa news agency.

“Consumers are gradually getting used to the current situation,” Böttcher explained the development. This can also be seen in a certain normalization of shopping behavior.

Even with toilet paper, which has become a symbol of hamster buying, the industry expert is hoping for improvement soon. “We assume that the level of saturation of German households with toilet paper should be reached shortly,” he said.

“The situation relaxes significantly”

In the past few weeks, the coronavirus crisis had at times led to massive hamster purchases. On individual days, the dealers sold twice as much goods as normal. But over the past week, the rush of customers has gradually subsided, can be heard in the industry.

“The situation is easing significantly,” said Rewe. Many consumers have apparently now replenished their stocks. The large-area discounter Kaufland also reported: “The customer frequency in our branches has currently normalized.” An Aldi spokesman also confirmed a slight easing of the situation.

20 million euros special bonus for Rewe employees

The first German food retailers now want to reward their employees’ great commitment with special bonuses during the rush of customers. Germany’s second largest food retailer Rewe will spend over 20 million euros in the hand, as a company spokesman announced. The money should go to the employees at Rewe, but also at the Group’s own discount subsidiary Penny.

“We not only say thank you for your tireless efforts in this difficult exceptional situation, but we also honor your commitment in a financially noticeable way,” said the spokesman.

The President of the German Trade Association (HDE), Josef Sanktjohanser, announced in a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on behalf of the industry: “We would like to honor the extraordinary commitment of our employees on a voluntary basis, for example through additional payments due to the crisis to wages and salaries. “

But such special payments could lead to a very strong increase in the tax burden on employees. Sanktjohanser therefore asked the Chancellor to “campaign for a tax exemption for special payments”.

Growing safeguards for supermarket staff

Retail chain efforts are also underway to better protect employees from coronavirus infection due to customer contact. For this purpose, for example, the installation of plexiglass walls at cash registers to offer employees better protection against droplet infections, but also the use of security personnel to limit the number of customers in the store, said BVLH spokesman Böttcher.

In many places, improvisation still had to be done, for example when the service counters with flutter tape indicated the necessary distance.

A Rewe spokesman appealed to customers to do their part to protect the health of retail employees. “It is also up to the customer to behave respectfully and prudently and to keep the minimum distances from the employees.”

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