Woolworths and Coles reinstates product limits in Victoria
Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have reinstated product buying limits across stores in Victoria in a bid to prevent a second wave of "panic buying".
Woolworths confirmed a purchase limit of two items on toilet paper, hand sanitiser, paper towel, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, UHT milk, eggs and rice had been reinstated due to a "recent demand surge".
While Coles revealed product restrictions had been re-introduced on similar grocery items, including limits of just one packet of toilet paper and paper towel. However, Coles' restrictions also applied to stores in Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin in NSW.
Woolworths stated the limit was a "preventative move" following a rise in product demand over the past 24 hours in certain parts of Melbourne as coronavirus numbers continued to climb.
Woolworths managing director Claire Peters reassured Victorians stores would remain open with "plenty of stock" to replenish shelves.
"While we have healthy stock levels to draw on, we're taking this precautionary step to help prevent excessive buying and support appropriate social distancing in our Victorian stores," she said.
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"We have more than enough product for all of our customers if we all just buy what we need in our weekly shop.
"We'll closely monitor demand across Victoria in the coming days and look to wind back the limits as soon as we can."
9News has captured pictures of supermarket shelves again stripped bare amid Victoria's spike of coronavirus infections.
Victoria recorded an increase of 20 new cases of coronavirus overnight, taking the state's total to 1884.
A man in his 80s also became the state's twentieth person to die of the virus.
Coles chief operations officer Matt Swindells said the surge in product demand across Victorian stores began to develop at the weekend, before spiking on Monday.
"It was more of a small ripple that got a bit larger in the pond once the hotspots were clearly identified in the community and those stores began to accelerate demand on Monday," he said.
"As soon as we get back to normal buying patterns, the sooner those restrictions can disappear.
"We just want to get ahead of this. Hopefully this is a blip."
Mr Swindells said the product limits would be "under review" but had been reinstated to ensure all customers get their "fair share" of groceries.
The product restrictions at the supermarkets would only apply to stories in Victoria and online orders.
It comes as ugly scenes of toilet paper fights were captured earlier this year amid supermarket panic buying rages. While vulnerable members of the community were left empty-handed.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton today stressed there was "no need" to panic buy.
"There's absolutely no need for it," he said.
"People can go about their shopping as per normal."