Local supermarkets have been forced to place purchase limits on items and introduce measures to support the shopping needs of the elderly and people with a disability as communities continue to feel the pain of panic buying due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Maryborough’s Aldi, Woolworths and Coles supermarkets have all had their shelves stripped of essential items in the past week as residents began stockpiling products.
Woolworths and Coles this week introduced a dedicated shopping hour from 7 to 8 am on weekdays at all stores to improve access to essential groceries for the elderly and those with a disability.
Access to the stores during that period will require a relevant government issued concession card such as a pensioner concession card or health care card.
Woolworths also announced that as of Wednesday, it would be closing stores early at 8 pm until further notice on weekdays to allow teams to re-stock shelves and prepare for trade.
Trading hours at Aldi have also been altered to 9.30 am to 7 pm.
All three supermarkets have also introduced strict purchase restrictions on a long list of products to ensure all customers have the opportunity to get the items they need.
As of Thursday morning, Woolworths introduced a two pack per customer limit on nearly every product category.
The supermarket also has a one pack per person limit on paper towels, serviettes, antibacterial and baby wipes, toilet paper and bulk rice (bags two kilograms and above).
There are, however, no limits currently on a selection of items including fresh fruit and vegetables, meat (excluding mince), deli items, bakery, baby food, drinks, yoghurts and wet cat and dog food.
In Coles, only one pack of toilet paper is allowed per person, while there is a two pack per person limit on pasta, flour, dry rice, paper towels, paper tissues, hand
sanitisers, mince meat, eggs, chilled pasta, frozen vegetables, frozen desserts, sugar, UHT long-life milk, canned tomatoes, liquid soap, chilled white milk.
The latest list of restricted products at Aldi, released on Tuesday, was a one pack per person limit on toilet paper and a two pack per person limit on dry pasta, flour, dry rice, paper towels, tissues and hand sanitiser.
For more on this story see Page 3 of The Advertiser, Friday, March 20