The bare shelves at Woolworths in the Noosa Civic Shopping Centre.
The bare shelves at Woolworths in the Noosa Civic Shopping Centre.

Coronavirus panic sparks toilet roll frenzy

PANIC buying of toilet paper has seen the shelves stripped bare at supermarkets around the country in the wake of coronavirus, and Noosa is no exception.

A sign at the Noosa Civic Woolworths store warned customers were limited to four packets of toilet paper per transaction.

"Due to higher than usual demand, we have been experiencing some product shortages," the sign on the bare shelves read.

"In order to support as many customers as possible, we have applied a limit of four packets of toilet paper per transaction."

Recent days have also seen reports of shortages of hand sanitiser and warnings that batteries and other electronic items could be next.

Alex Russell, School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University believes there are a few factors at play.

"People aren't only stockpiling toilet paper. All sorts of items are sold out, like face masks and hand sanitiser. Things like canned goods and other non-perishable foods are also selling well.

"People are scared, and they're bunkering down. They're buying what they need and one of the items is toilet paper.

"I think we're noticing the toilet paper more than the other things because toilet paper packs are big items that take up a lot of shelf space. Seeing a small product sold out at the supermarket (such as hand sanitiser) is not that unusual, and it's only a small hole in the shelf that is often temporarily filled with nearby products.

"But if the toilet paper is gone, that's a massive amount of shelf space that can't readily be replaced with other things nearby."

Tissues were also in short supply at the Noosa Civic Woolworths yesterday, and we can only presume it's the "next best thing" if you run out of toilet paper.


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