Coles and Woolworths reinstate buying limits as Melbourne is thrust back into lockdown

Coles and Woolworths reinstate buying limits as Melbourne is thrust back into lockdown

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 

COLES 

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 

WOOLWORTHS

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

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Manoj Prajapati

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