Police were called to manage crowds at several locations across Sydney when a doughnut chain held a promotion which involved handing out the sweet treats by the dozen for free.
Due to some missing out on a “chance to really celebrate”, Krispy Kreme offered 36,000 packs of doughnuts to anyone whose birthday fell between 13 March and 13 July, in a promotion to commemorate the company’s 83rd birthday.
People swarmed the stores across Sydney to claim their free dozen doughnuts and supplies sold out across the country, according to posts on Krispy Kreme Australia’s Facebook page.
However due to the crowds, police were forced to intervene, not only to ensure health directives were being followed but also to ease traffic.
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, NSW Police confirmed officers were called to a number of locations across Sydney on Monday.
“General duties officers, police Traffic and Highway patrol officers and the Public Order and Riot Squad worked with crews from the transport management centre to ensure compliance with public health order,” a spokesperson for NSW Police said.
Police are now examining which, if any, breaches occurred due to the promotion and will take action if necessary.
Operation coronavirus Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke condemned the promotion.
“This is nonsensical and defies logic,” he said in a media statement.
“We have people in NSW who have lost jobs, people who have missed the opportunity to farewell their loved ones at funerals, and of course, people who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.
“Promotions like this do nothing to assist in maintaining social distancing which is vital to stopping the spread of the virus.”
It wasn’t just the Acting Commissioner who took aim at the crowds wanting their free glazed doughnuts.
Photos of the commotion ended up on social media, garnering a strong reaction from many.
“Free doughnuts? Enjoy...” Police in the Area wrote on Facebook, along with a photo of what is apparently the Auburn store.
“But what about social distance!!?”
“What a joke for Krispy Kreme to be running such a promotion through these times,” someone said in the comments.
“Apparently free doughnuts are more important than their health,” another said.
Many criticised the lack of social distancing in the photo, while one suggested a lockdown was inevitable. Another simply said: “We’re doomed”.
While one person did cast doubt on the legitimacy of the photo shared by the Facebook group, similar photos outside the Auburn store on Monday and the police statement appear the suggest it is in fact legitimate.
When announcing the promotion on Facebook, Krispy Kreme Australia did say social distancing must be observed and that no one would be allowed out of their cars to get their free doughnuts in Victoria.
“All government guidelines must be followed and customers will be required to comply with social distancing rules at all times,” Krispy Kreme Australia wrote on Sunday.
“In Victoria, you will only be able to visit us in your vehicle, through the drive-thrus at Bulleen, Fawkner and Fountain Gate. This is to help us provide a contactless service and follow social distancing practices.”
All stores reportedly sold out of doughnuts.
“March-July babies, give yourself a pat on the back - you sure love your doughnuts,” Krispy Kreme Australia said on Facebook.
“We thank everyone who visited one of our stores today and waited patiently - another huge thanks for cooperating with our staff. Together, we made today special.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.