Woolworths has reinstated purchase limits on at least 50 products in Victoria after Premier Daniel Andrews declared a state of disaster, with stage four restrictions coming into effect from 6pm on Sunday for metro Melbourne.
Woolworths said the announcement follows an increase in demand across Victorian stores in the last 24 hours.
Premier Andrews announced 671 new cases and a further seven deaths on Sunday and urged shoppers to remain calm after hearing initial reports of panic buyers flocking to shops.
Images posted to Twitter show long lines of people waiting to pick up food and other essentials just hours before Victoria was declared a state of disaster, most with masks.
One shopper said they were already seeing meat shortages.
“Lockdown panic is well and truly alive,” he wrote alongside a video on Twitter.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton urged people not to worry as the new restrictions come into place.
“All the essential goods and services will remain available to people. There's a six-week period that we'll need to go through but the things people require for their essential day to day living will absolutely be available,” he said.
Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Claire Peters said on Sunday the supermarket chain “understands this is an anxious time for Victorian customers.”
“We encourage everyone to continue shopping as they usually would and only buy what they need. Stock will continue to flow from our distribution centres and as an essential service, Woolworths supermarkets remain open to support customers’ food and grocery needs,” she said.
For the next six weeks, people living in metro Melbourne areas will enter stage four restrictions, during which essential shopping is limited to to one person per household per day, and must be done at a location within 5kms of their residential address.
Coronavirus: Woolworths product limits
Effective immediately, all Woolworths shoppers in Victoria will be limited to two packages of toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, tissues and hand wash per person.
The restriction also applies for rice, pasta, flour, sugar, frozen vegetables, frozen potato, frozen fruit, frozen fish, frozen poultry, long life milk, noodles, cooking oil, pasta sauce, vinegar, canned vegetables, milk, bacon, eggs, meat and bread.
Additionally, there is a 1kg limit on meat from the butcher, and small goods and poultry from the deli.
There is a 2kg limit on loose carrots, onions and potatoes.
A one pack per customer limit will remain in place on face masks.
Ms Peters reminded customers to follow social distancing and hygiene measures when they visit Woolworths stores.
“We ask that our customers continue to adhere to our social distancing and hygiene measures while in store and continue to treat our team and each other with respect while shopping.”
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