A customer said she saw panic buying in action in Melbourne today. Picture: Instagram.
A customer said she saw panic buying in action in Melbourne today. Picture: Instagram.

Second wave of panic buying hits

Just a few weeks after supermarkets removed all limits on purchases there are signs that panic buying may be re-occurring.

Reports have surfaced of larger trolley loads and emptier shelves in some supermarkets in those parts of Melbourne singled out by the Victorian Government as being at heightened risk of coronavirus transmission.

One shopper said she had been told by a supermarket staff member that it was the "second wave of panic buying".

Woolworths told news.com.au there had been "elevated demand for toilet roll " in a number of Melbourne stores.

Melburnians have been told to avoid the local government areas of Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Hume and Moreland after the state recorded a surge in COVID-19 cases, up more than 100 in just five days.

Victoria reported 17 new cases today. Only two were from hotel quarantine; the rest were transmitted between close contacts. That's in contrast to other parts of Australia where there are either no new infections or the few that are cropping up are from returned travellers.

Today, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews threatened to reintroduce a statewide lockdown if a ramp up of restrictions was not followed by residents.

A customer said she saw panic buying in action in Melbourne today. Picture: Instagram.
A customer said she saw panic buying in action in Melbourne today. Picture: Instagram.

Shopper Kate, who didn't want to use her last name, told news.com.au she had witnessed a number of empty shelves at a Woolworths store in Seaford and Costco at Moorabbin Airport in the last couple of days.

Both suburbs are in the city's south east. Seaford is close to the local government area of Casey, one of those singled out by the Victorian Government as a virus hotspot.

"When I was at the supermarket yesterday, the checkout operator said they had noticed a 'second aver of panic buying'," she said.

"At Costco today shelves were emptier too. Lots of toilet paper sold put, cleaning products too. People buying dozens of bottles of disinfectant."

Kate said while she was only getting her standard pack of toilet paper, it looked like other people were being more than usual.

"It seemed like overloaded trolleys again and even things like flour were getting low".

Supermarkets are desperate for these scenes not to return again. Picture: Dale Fletcher
Supermarkets are desperate for these scenes not to return again. Picture: Dale Fletcher

The Australian reported customers at a Coles in Taylors Hill, in the city's west, were buying large packs of toilet paper for themselves and for relatives.

A similar pattern emerged in March when people bought not just supplies of loo roll for themselves but for friends and family too in case they missed out. In the process, they helped ensure others did indeed miss out.

Taylors Hill is in Brimbank, another local government are that the government has concerns over.

However, Coles' shoppers told the paper they were not worried about another outbreak of panic buying.

A Coles spokesman told news.com.au the chain had not seen an up tick in customer purchases but would monitor stock levels.

However, a Woolworths spokesman confirmed demand for staples had increased.

"We've seen elevated demand for toilet roll in a handful of Melbourne stores today. We have plenty of stock to draw on in our distribution centres and will replenish shelves in those stores quickly," he said.

"We'll continue to keep a close eye on stock levels in the coming days, and ask customers to buy only what they need."

Supermarkets have cautioned that what might appear to be emptier shelves due to panic buying may not be the case.

When panic buying was in full swing, manufacturers concentrated on providing a smaller range of product in increased quantities. As some of those other products are still yet to get back to full production there my still be some gaps.

Originally published as Second wave of panic buying hits


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