Scenes of panic buying have again returned to South East Queensland ahead of the second lockdown of 2021 for Greater Brisbane.
The retail rush comes as both Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Health Minister Yvette D’Ath pleaded with shoppers not to strip shelves.
All too familiar scenes have been posted across social media, showing Woolworths, Coles and Aldi stories packed with shoppers but completely stripped bare of items like toilet paper, canned items and milk.
Hamilton, New Farm, North Lakes and Chermside are reported to be panic buying hotspots.
One Woolworths employee on Brisbane’s north side told 9News.com.au that their stock of toilet paper “had disappeared in 30 minutes” early this morning following the lockdown announcement.
Woolworths have also reinstated product limits across Greater Brisbane as a response to a “spike in demand” in certain items, the limits being put in place to ensure “customers have fair access to essential products.
Limits on grocery items include Antibacterial wipes, flour, milk, noodles, pasta, paper towels, rice, sugar, tissues, toilet paper, frozen and canned items.
Limits on fresh items include bread, chilled pasta, eggs and select meat products from the stores’ butcher and deli.
“We understand this will be an unsettling time for many Queenslanders, but we want to reassure customers we will remain open as an essential service,” Woolworths General Manager for Queensland, Chris Peters, said.
“We have continued access to stock from our suppliers and our team will be hard at work making sure it flows from our distribution centres into our stores over the coming days.
“We encourage Queenslanders to continue shopping as they usually would and to be mindful of others in the community.”
Coles have announced it will not be introducing purchase limits in Queensland, going on to say that staff “are working hard to ensure shelves are stocked with the items customers need”.
Coles State General Manager for Queensland Jerry Farrell has put faith in Queenslanders to abide by the COVID safe rules, trusting “that our customers will only buy what they need” in a statement.
“This is not the first time Queensland has implemented tighter COVID safety measures, and we trust that our customers will only buy what they need,” he said.
“With Easter this weekend, we know many customers were already planning to do big grocery shops, particularly as all Queensland stores will be closed this Friday.
“We will continue to monitor product availability and ask that customers only buy what they need to help ensure everyone in the community has access to food and everyday essentials.”
Premier calls for calm at shopping centres
The frantic scenes have also triggered tweets from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Health Minister Yvette D’Ath pleading with South East Queenslanders to “please stop”.
“Please don’t rush out and panic buy. The supermarkets are full of supplies and will operate as per usual. Groceries and essentials will still be available while we’re in lockdown.” Premier Palaszczuk tweeted out.
“I am seeing reports of huge lines at our supermarkets with people stocking up on supplies – THIS IS NOT REQUIRED. PLEASE STOP!” Minister D’ath tweeted.
The rush has also prompted food delivery services to tip their hat to keep more Queenslanders at home, with UberEats this afternoon announcing ‘$20 off Grocery orders over $30’ up until April 1st.
“To help you get your groceries and essential items you can now get $20 off … Stay home and let your groceries come to you.” the delivery app said in an email sent to users this afternoon.