A South Australian supermarket chain has called for calm as mass panic buying, caused by a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, surges across the state.
In a cheeky video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, Drakes Supermarkets Director John-Paul Drake said people needed to “calm the farm” amid the sudden increase in bulk toilet paper purchases.
Coles has already imposed a two-packet limit for shoppers in a bid to ensure the items remain available to other shoppers.
In his address to “the state of Radelaide”, Mr Drake said there was no need to panic buy as they had enough toilet paper to go from “here, end on end, to (the) SpaceX rocket that got launched the other day”.
“There is so much toilet paper – you don’t need to be buying this in bulk,” Mr Drake said.
Adamant to prove stocks would not be running low, Woolworths store granted NCA NewsWire access to its South Australian distribution centre, revealing thousands of rolls ready to go.
A Woolworths spokesman said the company was sending triple the volume of toilet paper to stores as it did last Tuesday to ensure toilet paper is available for our customers.
“We experienced higher than usual demand for toilet paper across our South Australian stores yesterday,” they said.
“Customers are encouraged to buy only what they need, as we’ll continue to receive extra orders of stock in our stores regularly.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and reassess product limits if needed.”
Mr Drake urged shoppers to be kind to team members who were working to keep shelves stocked.
“Our team learned some lessons from the first wave (of coronavirus), so we’ve ensured that our Distribution Centre in Edinburgh North is appropriately stocked,” he said.
“Some shelves may be a bit low for now, but we can assure you that more stock is on its way.
“We’re already in talks with our supplier partners to ensure we can access more if required.”
In response to the panic buying, Coles has implemented a two packet limit on buying toilet paper.
A Coles spokesman said the purchase limits in SA were to ensure more customers had access to staple items.
“Effective from today, the limits apply at all Coles supermarkets and Coles Express stores in SA, as well as Coles Online orders for customers in SA,” they said.
“The limits do not currently apply to any other states or products, however we will continue to monitor stock levels and ask that customers purchase only what they need.”
Many people took to social media to show toilet paper, bread and gym equipment had flown off shelves at a number of supermarkets.
The retail workers union Secretary Josh Peak said it was caused by people being concerned of a shortage and the stress the pandemic has put on locals.
“The community is anxious and stressed out and unfortunately their lashing out at retail workers who are not only getting the panic buying but are also seeing an increase in customer abuse again,” he said on ABC Radio.
“We just need to remain claim. SA will get through this but we don’t need to put our retail workers through this additional stress for no reason.
“Our supply chain is very well stocked. We do not need to have rush on products. The only thing that causes a shortage is the rush itself so it’s really important that South Australians remain calm, do their usual shopping and make sure we have plenty on the shelves for all of us to share.”
The empty shelves come as SA’s Parafield cluster, which was announced on Sunday, grows to 23 known and suspected linked cases.
It was the first recorded community transmission since April.
The state now has a number of tougher restrictions put in place as a result, which came into effect as of midnight on Monday.