Woolworths introduces new product restrictions as supermarket shelves run empty

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Woolworths has reintroduced product restrictions nationwide for buyers as a “precaution” amid supply chain restrictions.

The supermarket giant announced nationwide limits for toilet paper and pain relievers on Thursday afternoon.

Buyers are now limited to a maximum of two packs of toilet paper and two packs of pain relievers per customer.

In addition, a limit of two packs per customer for ground beef, sausage and chicken products will only be introduced in West Australian Woolworths stores due to signs of excessive buying.

Woolworth’s restrictions on quick antigen kits also remain as customers are currently limited to one pack per purchase.

The recent surge in Covid19 infections has caused major logistical disruptions, forcing employees, truck drivers, and distribution center workers to stay at home with the virus or wait for test results. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE
Empty shelves of toilet paper are seen in a supermarket in Sydney on Jan. 7.
Empty shelves of toilet paper are seen in a supermarket in Sydney on Jan. 7. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

Woolworth’s director of stores Jeanette Fenske said the supermarket giant understands that it has been a fearful time for customers across the country.

“We will continue to closely monitor product availability in our stores and inventory will continue to be sent to stores on a daily basis,” said Ms. Fenske.

“Customers will notice some gaps on the shelves, but we are doing everything we can to meet the demand.

“We encourage everyone to look out for others in the community and continue to shop in reasonable quantities.”

The supermarket giants announced new product restrictions on toilet paper and pain relievers.
The supermarket giants announced new product restrictions on toilet paper and pain relievers. Credit: ALBERT PEREZ/AAPIMAGE

In addition, supply chain problems and staff shortages continue to have devastating consequences across the country.

On Tuesday night Coles supermarkets put similar product restrictions in place for shoppers across the country.

The new frontiers apply to pain relievers including paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin and toilet paper.

Coles buyers are now only allowed to buy two packs of pain relievers and one pack of toilet paper at a time.

The limits are in addition to the previous limits imposed last week on meat products in all states except WA.

Buyers are only allowed to buy a maximum of two packs of ground beef, two packs of chicken breasts or legs, and two packs of sausages from Coles.

Aussies should “stock up”

Australians were advised earlier this week to stock up on supplies in case they contract COVID-19.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd suggested that all households ensure that they have a supply of paracetamol or ibuprofen at home in case they are diagnosed with COVID-19 to “fight fever and pain.”

While Professor Kidd’s advice was given with good intentions, it had sparked another wave of panic buying within 24 hours.

By Tuesday, dozens had posted photos on social media of empty shelves in pharmacies and supermarkets across the country where acetaminophen and ibuprofen had been wiped clean.

With staff shortages continuing to wreak havoc on supply chains in Australia, Coles chief operations officer Matt Swindells said it will take time for the team to recover.

“It will likely take a few weeks for us to fully recover,” Swindells told 7NEWS.

“What we really need to do is make sure that the team members who are isolating, can be tested, can be examined, and then can get back to work quickly and safely.”

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