‘Stop hoarding’: PM slams panic buyers
The Prime Minister has ripped into panic buyers during an address to the nation, telling them to "stop hoarding".
Supermarkets have been stripped of toilet paper, pasta, rice and frozen food, as well as tinned and dried goods as people rushed to stock up amid a coronavirus lockdown.
The behaviour led to Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Aldi experiencing major shortages, with all four supermarket chains implementing strict buying restrictions on groceries.
Now Scott Morrison has told Australians to "stop it" while updating the country on the government's strategy to avoid the spread of the COVID-19.
"On bulk purchasing of supplies. Stop hoarding. I can't be more blunt about it. Stop it," he said. "It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis.
"That is not who we are as a people. It is not necessary. It is not something that people should be doing.
"There is no reason for people to be hoarding supplies in fear of a lock down or anything like this."
He said the desperate act "distracts attention" from efforts such as maintaining supply chains.
"The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advises against the bulk purchase of foods, medicines and other goods," the Prime Minister said.
"I am seeking Australia's commonsense co-operation with these very clear advisory positions. Stop doing it. It's ridiculous. It's un-Australian, and it must stop."
Mr Morrison implored people to do the "right thing" by adopting the advice, adding it was imperative we do not abuse supermarket staff.
"We're all in this together. People are doing their jobs. They're doing their best. Whether they're at a testing clinic this morning. Whether they're at a shopping centre. Whether they're at a bank, a train station, everybody is doing their best," he said.
"So let's just support each other in the work that they are doing. And I encourage you please, if you see someone doing that, just call it out and ask them to just refrain from doing that. That's the right thing to do."
His statement comes after Woolworths announced major new shopping restrictions on customers this morning, introducing a blanket two limit rule on everything in-store unless stated otherwise.
Fresh fruit and vegetables have been placed into the new "no limit" category along with meat (excluding mince), deli, bakery, seafood, fresh milk canned fish and drinks. Baby food also has no buying limits as well as cat and dog food and yoghurts. You can also buy unlimited amounts of Easter confectionery and merchandise.
One-item limits remain on antibacterial wipes, baby wipes, paper towels, rice (2kg and above), serviettes and toilet paper. Everything else falls under the two items per person rule.
Coles also updated its shopping limits today, adding milk to its growing two items per customer list. Toilet paper remains limited to one pack per customer.
Aldi has also announced changes in its stores, restricting shopping hours and introducing buying restrictions as well as code of practice when entering stores.