What supermarkets are doing in the wake of coronavirus

Panic buying has led to mass shortages of food at supermnarkets across the country. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Panic buying has led to mass shortages of food at supermnarkets across the country. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Frenzied panic buying, aisles of empty shelves and mass crowds at checkouts have been all too common sights in supermarkets across the country.

As people try and stock up on supplies should they need to self-isolate at home for two weeks in the wake of coronavirus, supermarkets have been pleading for calm from shoppers.

It comes as a joint message from the heads of Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA on Wednesday urged shoppers to be considerate and buy only what people need and not to abuse staff.

"We ask that you treat these dedicated people with the courtesy and respect they deserve. No one working or shopping in any of our stores should experience abusive or aggressive behaviour," the statement said.

Here's what each supermarket is doing in the wake of the coronavirus and panic buying.

Woolworths

Woolworths Majura park opened its doors to the elderly and disabled between the hours of 7 and 8am. Picture: Karleen Minney

Woolworths Majura park opened its doors to the elderly and disabled between the hours of 7 and 8am. Picture: Karleen Minney

From Wednesday, Woolworths has enacted limits on almost all items that customers can purchase.

Limits will be put in place for all items with the exception of fruit and vegetables, meat (excluding mince), deli, bakery, seafood, milk, canned fish, drinks, baby food, yoghurt, confectionery, wet dog food, wet cat food and general merchandise like storage and batteries.

Customers will have a one pack limit for toilet paper, baby wipes, antibacterial wipes, paper towels, serviettes and rice packets more than two kilograms.

For all other category of items, a limit of two packs per customer will be enforced, regardless of brands.

It comes as the supermarket giant introduced a dedicated hour of shopping from Tuesday until Friday for vulnerable shoppers.

Stores will be open from 7am until 8am for the elderly and those with a disability.

Woolworths has enacted strict limits on stock for customers. Picture: Karleen Minney

Woolworths has enacted strict limits on stock for customers. Picture: Karleen Minney

Those with government-issued seniors or concession cards will be allowed entry.

From Wednesday, trading hours at all stores have been changed with stores closing early at 8pm until further notice.

The measures have been made for staff to restock shelves.

Online pick up and delivery now services have been suspended until further notice.

Coles

Coles also has limits in place on stock customers can purchase.

A limit of one pack of toilet paper per person has been put in place.

Stocks of toilet paper at a Coles supermarket in Manuka run low as people begin stockpiling groceries. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Stocks of toilet paper at a Coles supermarket in Manuka run low as people begin stockpiling groceries. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

A limit of two items per person has been put in place for flour, pasta, dry rice, paper towels, paper tissues, hand sanitisers, mince meat, eggs, chilled pasta, frozen vegetables, frozen desserts and chilled white milk.

Coles has said additional restrictions could be put in place on certain items from store to store.

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Home delivery orders has been suspended in order for vans to deliver groceries to the vulnerable and isolated.

Click and collect orders will no longer be accepted and UberEats delivery services have been cancelled.

Coles has also implemented a dedicated hour of shopping for seniors and those with a disability.

Stores will close from 8pm to allow staff to restock.

Those who want to refund items due to a change of mind will be unable to do so.

Aldi

Aldi ghas enaced measures to stop panic bying at stores. Picture: Graham Tidy

Aldi ghas enaced measures to stop panic bying at stores. Picture: Graham Tidy

Aldi has changed its trading hours from 9.30am to 7pm due to restocking measures.

Restrictions of items are also in place.

Customers will be limited to one pack of toilet paper and two units of dry pasta, flour, dry rice, paper towels, tissues and hands sanitisers.

Aldi has warned customers trying to game the new restrictions policy will not be allowed entry to stores.

Change of mind refunds have been suspended with customers with additional items they no longer need urged to donate them to community organisations.

IGA

Ainslie IGA owner, Manuel Xyrakis, discusses the panic buying tendencies of his customers. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Ainslie IGA owner, Manuel Xyrakis, discusses the panic buying tendencies of his customers. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

IGA says it has no plans to alter trading hours, as of Wednesday.

The supermarket chain said supply chain networks were in place and urged for calm from customers.

More staff have been put on supermarket floors to meet demand.

Purchasing limits for critically low stock have been put in place.

The limits are different from store to store, due to the stores being independently owned, but the number of items being limited was increasing each day, the supermarket chain said.

Some stores have said they had offered special trading hours vulnerable members of the communities.

Change of mind refunds have also been suspended.

  • For information on COVID-19, please go to the federal Health Department's website.
  • You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
  • If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000)

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This story What supermarkets are doing in the wake of coronavirus first appeared on The Canberra Times.