Tesco RATIONING: Coronavirus sees sanitiser & toilet roll shortage – what are your limits?

Supermarkets such as Tesco and Waitrose have started rationing items, after a panic buying spree has gripped the nation aid the recent spread of coronavirus. Brawls have broken out in the aisles as shoppers fight over the last loo rolls or packet of pasta shells.

Now the firms have been forced to impose strict limits on just how much shoppers can take home with them.

Images from Tesco show empty shelves, stripped of the essentials as worried shoppers stock up in fear of the coronavirus outbreak.

The panic buying crisis has got so bad, shops are struggling to keep up with demand – with online orders also stripping stores of goods.

Ministers are now said to be considering emergency measures to ease pressure on the supply chain.

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  • People rush for toilet paper as deadly coronavirus sparks panic

What are the limits at Tesco?

Tesco has limited customers to just five items each of the essentials, including long-life milk and antibacterial products.

Images from the Orpington Tesco branch show empty shelves, with a sign reading: Due to excessive demand we are currently sold out of these products.”

The aim is “to help give everyone access to essential items”, another sign reads.

One anonymous store worker said: “I was surprised when I saw it on the news but didn’t think it would be this bad when I came in.”

A shopper told Express.co.uk: “I can’t believe people have bought all the toilet paper. It’s a ridiculous overreaction. What are we supposed to do?”

What about the other supermarkets?

Waitrose confirmed there were no restrictions in place in-store.

However, the firm has placed a “temporary cap” on certain products online “to ensure our customers have access to the products they need”.

Waitrose added: “We continue to work with suppliers to help meet demand.”

Iceland has imposed a limit of four per person on some cleaning supplies.

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  • Coronavirus sparks hand sanitiser shortage – Shops RUNNING OUT

Is there a limit on hand sanitiser?

Hand sanitiser sales were up 255 per cent in February, according to research company Kantar.

Boots has been hit hard but the run on sanitisers and liquid soaps, with images of empty shelves circulating on social media.

A sign at one Boots branch read: “Hand sanitisers are currently limited to two per customer.

“Help us to support as many people as possible to keep their hands clean this winter.”

Both Boots and Superdrug have put two-per-person limits on al hand sanitisers, both in store and online.

Asda and Aldi are also implementing a two-per-person limit on hand sanitisers online and in stores.

Why are people panic buying?

The “irrational” panic buying began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the virus’ epicentre, but has since spread across the globe.

In Sydney, two women were arrested after brawling over the last toilet roll.

Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, expert in consumer and behavioural science at the University College London, told Sky News there was a difference between disaster panic and general panic.

“Disaster panic is normally for something you have more information on, such as a natural disaster,” he said.

“You know it is going to happen and you usually know it will last a couple days and you can prepare by being somewhat rational with what you buy.

“But in public health issues we have no idea about the time or intensity and we get messages on a daily basis that we should go into panic mode that we buy into more than we need to. It’s our only tool of control.”

Toilet paper has a longer shelf-life than many food items and is a large, obvious item so we are drawn to purchasing it in times of crisis.

He added: “The bigger they are, the more important we think they are.

“If we had an international sign for panic it would be a traffic warning sign with a toilet paper roll in the middle.”

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