Coles introduces strict new guidelines in stores amid coronavirus crisis

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Coles has announced the introduction of strict new limits on certain products as shoppers continue to clear shelves in manic proportions amid climbing coronavirus fears.

Beginning on Saturday, the retail giant will be enforcing a two-per-customer limit on items including pasta, flour, dry rice, paper towels, paper tissues and hand sanitisers, CEO Steven Cain said on Friday.

The strict limits follow its earlier restriction to allow just one pack of toilet paper per transaction in the wake of chaotic scenes across Australian supermarkets that saw shelves emptied of the bathroom essential.

Customer will no longer be allowed to buy bulk quantities of pasta from Coles. Source: Reddit/u/tardigrade40

Mr Cain also announced customers would be temporarily banned from returning items they no longer wanted due to a suspension of the supermarket’s “change-of-mind” refund policy.

“If you have already purchased additional items you no longer want, please look at donating them to community organisations or neighbours who have been struggling to purchase them during this time,” he said.

Coles followed the lead of Woolworths which last week announced it would be enforcing limits on the number of hand sanitisers and packets of rice customers could buy at a time.

Shoppers were limited to one two-kilogram bag of rice per transaction and to buying just two bottles of hand sanitiser.

Empty shelves inside a Melbourne supermarket after coronavirus panic buying. Source: Getty Images

Woolworths also introduced a two-pack limit on toilet paper for customers online and in store, after an initial limit of four failed to stunt nationwide shortages.

The retailer revealed on Friday its new partnership with Meals on Wheels to supply toilet paper and other sought-after items to elderly and vulnerable NSW residents.

The initiative is set to be rolled out across other states in the coming weeks.

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