Grocery stores prepare for blackout

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Domestic food retailers have agreed on a unified approach in the event of a blackout. While energy and food supplies are currently secure, it is necessary to be prepared in the event of a crisis, the ministries of energy and agriculture said in a statement. Austrian newspaper “der Standard” published a round table interview with Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler and Agriculture Minister Norbert Totschnig.

At the meeting, measures to prevent blackouts, maintain food supplies in the event of an emergency, and increase energy efficiency were discussed. In addition to Gewessler and Totschnig, representatives of the retail food trade, the social partners, the departments concerned, the association of municipalities, and other experts took part.

All stores close on the first day.
“As a system-critical infrastructure, the domestic food retail sector has a social responsibility to be prepared for an emergency and to be able to ensure the basic supply of the population even in the event of a blackout,” the statement said. Therefore, the trading partners agreed on a uniform procedure in case of a blackout in consultation with the responsible trade association in the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ).

The plan calls for all grocery stores to remain closed on the first blackout day to take necessary precautions. From 10 am to 3 pm on the second day, bags with fresh products will be distributed at Spar, Interspar, Maximarkt, Billa, Penny, Adeg, Sutterlüty, Hofer, Lidl, Nah- und Frisch, Unimarkt and M-Preis stores. For logistical reasons, it will not be possible to choose the contents. In addition, ready-made food and beverage bags with water, long-life bread, canned food, mass-produced products, and candles will be sold against cash payment. Baby articles and hygiene products are to be available on request. The bags will be handed out in front of the stores, and it will not be possible to enter the stores or pick out products in the event of a crisis.

From the third day onwards, only dry food will be distributed for food safety reasons. The distribution is to be carried out closely with the cities and municipalities. Municipalities and blue-light organizations will be supplied with food from 9 to 10 am. As in the past, the population will continue to be advised to stockpile 14 days’ worth of food in their households. The National Bank (OeNB) also reports keeping about 100 euro cash per family member or a double weekly purchase in small denominations safely at home.

Totschnig: “Food supply currently secure”.
The risk of a blackout is “shallow overall,” according to the Climate Protection and Energy Ministry. A power shortage is also unlikely, it said, yet it remains essential to save energy. “The current challenges show very clearly: we must use energy carefully,” Gewessler said. At the same time, he said, efficiency measures and switching to renewable energy sources are essential. To this end, he said, the ministry offers a wide range of funding opportunities for private individuals, businesses, and companies.

“The food supply is currently secure in Austria,” Totschnig said. He said this is thanks to the farmers, the food processing and food trade companies, and the functioning value chains. The minister welcomed the standardization of the food trade’s approach in the event of a blackout and announced that, in addition to industry and business representatives and the provinces, the population would also be informed at regular intervals in the future about the current situation of food supply security.

  • source: derstandard.at/picture:
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