‘Buy as usual’: Panic buying resumes as UK braces for further lockdowns

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Buyers have been urged to remain calm in supermarkets across the country amid fears of a return to panic buying seen as the UK March lockdown approaches.

Some UK supermarkets have found themselves with empty shelves in some aisles – with toilet paper used up – in scenes reminiscent of the shopping rush that occurred before the coronavirus restrictions were first introduced.

A wave of panic-buying in the early stages of the outbreak in the country forced some to turn to food banks after being unable to get the essentials they needed to fend for themselves.

It precedes planned new restrictions announced by the Prime Minister as the Covid-19 alert level for the UK is raised to level 4 – meaning transmission of the virus is “high or increasing exponentially”.

British Retail Consortirum Food and Sustainability Director Andrew Opie urged consumers to be mindful of others and to ‘shop as usual’.

Mr Opie said: “Supply chains are stronger than ever and we do not foresee any issues with the availability of food or other goods under a future lockdown.

“Nonetheless, we urge consumers to pay attention to others and shop as they normally would. “

He added that retailers have done a “great job” in making sure customers have access to food throughout the pandemic, while also installing Plexiglas screens and other social distancing measures.

“As such, retail remains a safe space for consumers, even under future lockdowns,” he said.

Despite scenes in some stores, supermarket giants Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Aldi said they had “good availability” on Monday and have yet to experience a shortage.

Tesco added that its online capacity had nearly doubled, from 600,000 weekly delivery slots in March to 1.5 million in September.

Additional reports from agencies.

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