‘Bring in limits’: customers plead over second wave fears



Shoppers in Victoria have pleaded with Coles and Woolworths supermarkets to reintroduce product buying limits amid fears the state's coronavirus outbreak could lead to mass panic buying.

On Tuesday pictures emerged of emptier shelves in some stores in the parts of Melbourne earmarked as being a high risk for coronavirus transmission.

One customer said a supermarket employee had described it to them as a "second wave of panic buying".


Now shoppers have issued public pleas to both Woolies and Coles to step in and start restricting the number of essential items people can buy.

"Come on Woolworths you have a responsibility to stop the panic buying of toilet paper again. Second wave of stupidity is happening. Limit per person ASAP," one person wrote.

Another added: "Hello Coles, please consider placing limitations on toilet paper and other essential products in your Victorian stores ASAP before things get out of hand again. Our vulnerable citizens deserve the consideration."

"Please Coles … bring in LIMITS NOW! Before it gets like last time … trolley fulls of toilet paper walking out the door.....act now," another person wrote.

Woolworths said there had been "elevated demand for toilet roll" in a small number of Melbourne stores while Coles said they are yet to see an upswing in buying.

Others asked supermarkets to start bringing more stock of high demand items back into supermarkets.

"Don't wait for the rush," one shopper wrote to Woolworths. "Order at least FIFTY TIMES your highest ever orders for toilet paper. We're off again."

"So why are we seeing reports that there is panic buying on toilet paper again? What happened to continued limits on essentials?" one frustrated customer wrote on Coles' Facebook page.

"How could your stores let this happen AGAIN?"

Cleaning crews work to deep clean Keilor Views Primary School. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images.
Cleaning crews work to deep clean Keilor Views Primary School. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images.


It comes as the Victorian government reportedly asked for some returning flights to be diverted to Sydney amid a double digit rise in new cases in Victoria.

The Herald Sun reported the Victorian government asked for some flights returning from overseas to be quarantined elsewhere, however Border Force officials have said that is not the case.

A breach at Melbourne quarantine hotel, Stamford Hotel, saw several security guards infected with coronavirus, with Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy saying a "very extensive review" was now being carried out looking into hotel quarantine procedures.

"We as a nation are all going to look at our practices for hotel quarantine and share the best lessons learnt at a meeting later this week," he said.

Victorians are now being urged to work from home whenever possible, with the state's Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton urging people not to "take this disease lightly".

"We have made some great progress in slowing the spread of coronavirus, but we are still seeing new cases in the community," he told reporters.

"This is the seventh consecutive day of double-digit case growth in Victoria, with a continuing and concerning number of new cases associated with transmission in households and families."

Professor Sutton urged anyone feeling the slightest bit sick to self-isolate and get tested.

"If you feel unwell with any symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, you should stay home and get tested. If you have any fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of sense of smell or taste - stay home, don't go in to work and don't visit friends and family. Get tested and stay at home until you get the result."

Originally published as 'Bring in limits': VIC customers plead