Coles and Woolworths have reinstated product buying limits in Victoria after customers raided shelves ahead of Wednesday’s lockdown.
Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will be thrust back into a six week lockdown as a second outbreak of COVID-19 ravages the state.
Just one day after buying limits were lifted, supermarkets were forced to bring them back into effect to avoid customers stripping shelves entirely bare.
The frenzied buying on Tuesday came shortly after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced further lockdown orders to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Video and pictures taken at supermarkets throughout the state show queues wrapped around car parks and through shopping centres.
Everybody in locked down suburbs, aside from those living inside 10 housing commission flats, will still be able to do their grocery shopping.
Queues to get into Coles supermarkets wrapped around shopping centres as people rushed to stock up on essentials
Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will be thrust back into a six week lockdown as a second outbreak of COVID-19 ravages the state
The stay-at-home orders will come with four exemptions, including grocery shopping, exercise, caring for a relative and going to work or school.
Toilet paper is capped at one packet per customer, while restrictions were also imposed on pasta, rice, hand sanitiser and paper towel.
The products impacted by buying limits at Coles include:
- Pasta – two packets Flour – two packets
- Rice – two packets Sugar – two packets
- Fresh White Milk – two packets Chicken breast and thigh – two packets
- Eggs – two packets Mince meat – two packets
- Frozen vegetables – two packets Frozen chips – two packets
- Tissues – two packets Paper towel – two packets
- Hand sanitiser – two packets Liquid soap – two packets
- Toilet paper – one packet Frozen desserts – two packets
The limits will be implemented at all Coles supermarkets, Coles Express and Coles Online within the affected local government areas.
Coles chief executive Steven Cain said the new limits were disappointing but a necessary measure to avoid widespread panic buying which was experienced in the early days of the pandemic.
‘Our thoughts are with the many Victorians who will now be required to isolate at home, and we will continue to work with the state government to provide whatever assistance they need,’ Mr Cain said in a statement.
Coles has reintroduced product buying limits in certain stores within locked down communities
Customers again stripped shelves bare when they learned they would be thrust back into lockdown
‘To help provide a safer shopping experience in our stores, we would ask that customers continue to treat our team members with respect, observe social distancing in stores, make use of the sanitising stations at the entrance, and plan their visit so they can be ‘speedy shoppers’.’
Supermarkets are again assuring customers that there is plenty of supply and no need to attempt to stockpile.
Despite being allowed to shop during lockdown, large queues of customers were seen outside Melbourne’s supermarkets on Tuesday night as residents stocked up on supplies before six weeks of home confinement.
‘If anyone in Melbourne is wondering, yes the supermarket is already a terrifying place to be,’ a Twitter post reads.
A Woolworths spokesman said the restrictions were necessary following the surge in demand overnight.
‘All Woolworths supermarkets in Victoria will remain open throughout the next six weeks of stage three restrictions just as they did earlier this year,’ he said.
‘We have more than enough stock flowing from our distribution centres into stores to support all our customers’ food and grocery needs. We encourage our customers to continue shopping as they usually would.’
The hard lockdown comes into effect from 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Customers will be limited to buying two of each product, except for toilet paper, which is restricted to one packet per customer
Residents will still be able to do their grocery shopping during the six week lockdown
Shoppers have been seen queuing outside Melbourne supermarkets (pictured) before lockdown measures come into play on Wednesday night
Residents will be only allowed to leave their homes for work and study, giving or receiving care, shopping for essentials and daily exercise near where they live.
Police will stop Victorians leaving or entering Melbourne with roadblocks and booze bus-style vehicle checks, effectively sealing 5million people inside the city.
Gatherings of more than two people who do not live together will be banned; beauty services and entertainment venues will shut; and cafes, restaurants and pubs will be able to offer takeaway only.
Year 11 and 12 pupils and special schools will go back to class but holidays will be extended by a week for students up to year 10, with remote learning a possibility after that.
Restrictions for the rest of Victoria remain the same – but residents can only enter Melbourne for caregiving, essential shopping and work or study.
Under-pressure Premier Daniel Andrews said the new lockdown was essential to avoid ‘thousands and thousands’ of cases and ‘many, many people in hospital.’
‘This is a pandemic and it will kill thousands of people if it gets completely away from us,’ he said.
The suburbs which are impacted by the product buying limits are:
- Bayside Banyule Boroondara Brimbank
- Cardinia Casey Darebin Frankston
- Glen Eira Greater Dandenong Hobsons Bay Hume
- Kingston Knox Manningham Maribyrnong
- Maroondah Melbourne Melton Mitchell Shire
- Monash Mornington Peninsula Moonee Valley Monash
- Nillumbik Port Phillip Stonnington Whitehorse
- Whittlesea Wyndham Yarra Yarra Ranges
Products impacted by new buying limits
Pasta – two packets Flour – two packets
Rice – two packets Sugar – two packets
Milk – two packets Chicken breast and thigh – two packets
Eggs – two packets Mince meat – two packets
Frozen vegetables – two packets Frozen chips – two packets
Tissues – two packets Paper towel – two packets
Hand sanitiser – two packets Liquid soap – two packets
Toilet paper – one packet Frozen desserts – two packets
Flour – two packets Sugar – two packets
Pasta – two packets Mince – two packets
Long life milk – two packets Eggs – two packets
Rice – two packets Frozen Vegetables – two packets
Frozen Potatoes – two packets Frozen Fruit – two packets
Frozen Fish – two packets Frozen Poultry – two packets
Sausages – two packets Burgers – two packets
Fresh Milk – two packets Frozen Pizza – two packets
Frozen Meals – two packets Frozen Party Snacks – two packets
Frozen Seafood – two packets Chilled Juice – two packets
Tissues – two packets Toilet Paper – two packets