Coles and Woolworths' stunning response to panic buying fears

Coles and Woolworths have reintroduced limits on products in Victoria amid fears of another panic buying surge. 

A picture taken on Wednesday morning in a Coles in Craigieburn, in Melbourne’s north, shows a sign informing customers they can only buy four packs of toilet paper, according to 7 News.

It’s believed the limits have also been placed on other items as the state sees an increase in coronavirus cases and community transmission.

A picture taken on Wednesday morning in a Coles in Craigieburn shows a sign informing customers they can only buy four packs of toilet paper. Source: 7 News.

“Coles you should be putting restrictions back. Our Coles is almost empty and it's only been 24 hours! No toilet paper, no sugar, no rice! Bloody hurry up!” one woman wrote on the Coles Facebook page.

Numerous customers took to social media this week to urge the supermarket chain to impose restrictions again.

“Can you please reintroduce limits on toilet paper. I’ve seen people coming out with trolley loads yesterday again,” one shopper wrote, claiming she had seen a woman walk out with five packs of 36-roll bags of toilet paper.

“Do it before it’s too late and we see those ugly scenes again,” she said.

Yahoo News Australia has contacted Coles for comment.

This was the scene inside Woolworths in Hillside, an area identified as a coronavirus hotspot. Source: Facebook

Woolworths reinstates product limits in Victoria

Woolworths reimposed a two per-person limit on toilet paper, hand sanitiser, paper towel, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, UHT milk, eggs and rice across its Victorian stores on Wednesday afternoon.

The move is in response to “significantly elevated demand seen over the past 24 hours in certain parts of Melbourne,” according to a press release.

The limits will also apply to online order.

Woolworths opens it doors in Melbourne from 7am to 8am for the elderly to do their shopping during the virus pandemic. Source: AAP

“We understand many Victorians are anxious about the recent community outbreak, but they can be assured our stores will remain open with plenty of stock in our warehouses to replenish our shelves,” Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Claire Peters said.

“While we have healthy stock levels to draw on, we’re taking this precautionary step to help prevent excessive buying and support appropriate social distancing in our Victorian stores.

“We have more than enough product for all of our customers if we all just buy what we need in our weekly shop. We’ll closely monitor demand across Victoria in the coming days and look to wind back the limits as soon as we can.”

This woman was seen loading her car with 11 packages of toilet paper in Springvale. Source: Supplied

Panic buying fears as coronavirus hotspots revealed

A photo taken inside a Woolworths store near Hillside, northwest of Melbourne, on Tuesday showed an almost bare toilet paper shelf – weeks after supermarkets loosened restrictions enforced during the first wave of panic buying.

Hillside, in the city of Brimbank, is one of many suburbs in six local councils announced by the Victorian government to be coronavirus hotspots on Sunday.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) identified outbreaks in the local government areas of Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin.

“The AHPPC strongly discourages travel to and from those areas until control of community transmission has been confirmed,” the committee said in a statement.

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