Are panicked buyers back? Toilet paper disappears from the shelves again

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Panic shopping has returned at some supermarkets after limits were imposed on essentials (Photo: Bav Media)

Attempts by supermarkets to reassure customers that they don’t have to panic to buy haven’t deterred some shoppers from filling their carts over the weekend.

Although far from the levels seen at the start of the lockdown in March, shelves have been stripped of items in some stores amid fears over the impact of more restrictions on coronaviruses.

This is despite brands like Morrisons and Tesco reintroducing limits on the number of key products a buyer can purchase for the first time since the lockdown began.

Customers took to social media to report difficulties obtaining items such as toilet paper, pasta and flour at their local stores – and some stores reported that stores appeared busier than usual with longer queues.

One person wrote: “I went to @asda earlier and guess what? Not a single pack of toilet paper on the shelves… yet! Another said: “The panic buying sort of reoccurs. Toliet fabric, water, pasta, rice empty on supermarket shelves. I can’t get paracetamol for the headache.

It also affected door-to-door deliveries, with people reporting problems getting a convenient slot in the next two weeks. A woman wrote on Twitter: “There were 14 backordered items in our Asda order. Honestly, I can’t get over it. Selfish people are panicking back into buying again by looks.

Waitrose boss James Bailey told The Sunday Times there was “enough food for everyone” but if panic buying picks up “some will inevitably lose.”

He said: “If a person fills their house, will have all the packages of pasta they can get their hands on, it inevitably means someone else will do without. They could be the most vulnerable or the most important workers.

Empty shelves where toilet rolls are typically stored in a Sainsburys in Wandsworth on Saturday September 26, 2020 (Photo: PA)

Supermarkets have strengthened their supply chains and made more door-to-door delivery slots available, hoping to avoid the kind of stockouts seen at the start of the pandemic.

NHS workers were left in tears when they struggled to get hold of essentials after shoppers piled up in droves.

Grocery stores have never been forced to close throughout the outbreak and the latest restrictions are not preventing people from visiting the stores.

Panic buying appears to have affected areas of Wales which are currently under lockdown. Cardiff and Swansea will join much of the south of the country when new restrictions take effect at 6 p.m.

Empty shelves where toilet paper rolls are typically stored in a Sainsburys in Wandsworth as people panicked shopping as coronavirus cases on the rise. PA photo. Photo date: Saturday, September 26, 2020. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown / PA Wire

Shelves are waiting to be restocked in Wandsworth on Saturday September 26 (Photo: PA)

People are not allowed to leave the areas “without a reasonable excuse” or to visit friends and family in their homes. An “extended home” program, which allowed people to form bubbles with their loved ones, has been ended.

It was announced today that three other areas of Wales – Neath Port Talbot, Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen – will also be subject to lockdowns from Monday.

Pontypridd MP Alex Davies-Jones tweeted to say she had heard reports of panic shopping at supermarkets in her constituency as photos emerged of an Asda in Cardiff with empty shelves.

The restrictions in Wales follow similar measures which went into effect at midnight on Saturday in Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds. In total, around 17 million people, or a quarter of Britain’s population, live under some sort of lockdown.

Photo provided by Bav Media 07976 880732. The photo dated September 26 shows shelves of toilet paper being emptied on Saturday morning at Tesco in Ely, Cambridgeshire, as panic shopping continues. In this store, customers are now limited to one item of certain products. Shelves are being emptied in supermarkets across England as customers panic and shop in anticipation of yet another lockdown. Shoppers are panicking buying essentials such as baked rice, pasta and beans as coronavirus figures continue to rise across the UK. Many are starting to stock up on cleaning and storage supplies, just as they did in March before the first nationwide lockdown.

A photo dated September 26 shows shelves of toilet paper being emptied on Saturday morning at Tesco in Ely, Cambridgeshire (Photo: Bav Media)

Tesco is limiting items such as flour, dried pasta, toilet paper and antibacterial wipes to three per customer and Morrisons on Thursday announced that rationing would be introduced on certain items in its stores.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We have good availability, with a lot of stock to go, and we encourage our customers to shop normally.

“So that everyone can continue to buy what they need, we have introduced bulk purchase limits on a small number of products.

Photo provided by Bav Media 07976 880732. Photo from September 26 shows shelves of toilet paper being emptied on Saturday morning at Tesco in Ely, Cambridgeshire, as panicked shopping continues. In this store, customers are now rationed to a single item of certain products. Shelves are being emptied in supermarkets across England as customers panic and shop in anticipation of yet another lockdown. Shoppers are panicking buying essentials such as baked rice, pasta and beans as coronavirus figures continue to rise across the UK. Many are starting to stock up on cleaning supplies and cabinetry, as they did in March before the first nationwide lockdown.

Tesco has introduced limits on certain products (Photo: Bav Media)

“To help our customers shop safely, we will also have colleagues at the entrances to our larger stores to remind customers of the security measures we have in place, including the legal requirement to wear a facial mask.

Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have both said in recent days that they currently have no plans to do the same.

As concerns grew, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) urged customers to be mindful of others and “shop as you normally would”.

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