Fears second wave of panic buying could hit Melbourne after supermarkets lift limits

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·3-min read

There are fears Victoria’s supermarket shelves could once again be stripped bare by panic buyers after the state government announced a return to stage three restrictions for some areas.

Metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to stage three on Wednesday midnight for six weeks after the state recorded another 191 cases of coronavirus.

On Monday, Coles announced it had removed purchase limits on all items at supermarkets around Australia.

Empty toilet paper shelves at Coles supermarket in Adelaide.
Toilet paper shelves empty at a Coles in Adelaide. Source: AAP

This was after it reinstated limits on sanitary items including toilet paper and hand sanitiser nationwide on June 26 and on chilled products such as milk, butter and chicken breast in Tasmanian and Victorian stores on July 2.

Woolworths on Tuesday reintroduced purchase limits on toilet paper and on Friday, flour, sugar, pasta and a number of other products in Victorian supermarkets.

But shoppers online claim they are now concerned panic buying will happen again.

“Lockdown is back and so is the panic buying and the long lines to enter the supermarket in bayside Melbourne,” one man tweeted on Tuesday evening.

Another man tweeted “this is crazy” adding a photo of an empty Coles shelf.

“Just went to my local Coles. Legit was about 280 people rushing for groceries in a panic buying spree,” another man tweeted.

“Gonna be crazy again.”

Panic buying and brawls in supermarkets made headlines across the country as coronavirus broke out earlier this year.

Speaking on the Today show last month, Matt Swindells, Coles chief operating officer, reiterated there is no need for panic-buying.

Concerns about panic buying resuming were raised last week too.

It prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to tell panic buyers to “stop it”.

“It’s ridiculous,” he told reporters last month.

“I’m sure it will pass as it did last time and there’s no need for it and I think today it’s important to reassure people the outbreak doesn’t mean there’s a problem. The response to that outbreak is strong which means Australians can have confidence.”

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