Panic-buying hordes descended on supermarkets and shops today as the UK’s second national lockdown loomed on the horizon – snapping up clothes and even a snowman.
Hundreds of customers lined up to get into stores, including Sainsbury’s and wholesalers Costco, ahead of the shutdown coming in on Thursday.
And those hoping to stay at home were also dealt a blow as delivery slots became booked up for the entire month.
The chaos began to unfold after Prime Minister Boris Johnson stunned the nation by announcing a second national lockdown after weeks of insisting it would not happen.
One shopper got in early to buy a snowman ahead of the new strict restrictions, perhaps fearing it could be his last chance
Primark in Birmingham – which will have to close during lockdown – had a huge queue outside its doors this morning
Lines of shoppers stacked up outside Costco in Croydon this morning patiently waited to get inside the bulk buy store
But shoppers descending on stores were met with bewilderment by onlookers – given that they will be allowed to stay open during the restrictions.
In Croydon outside Cosco there were lines of people queuing up to get inside this morning after the weekend’s announcement.
The story was sadly the same in other supermarkets, with some shelves picked clean by shoppers.
Primark – who will have to close after Thursday – was also popular with customers buying presents ahead of December 25.
In Bristol people were getting their supplies in ahead of the new Boris Johnson-announced national lockdown on Thursday
In Sainbury’s in Hedge End, Hampshire, many of the toilet roll shelves were very low on stock amid fears shops could run out
Shoppers needing to do their big shops were seen in Sainsbury’s three days from lockdown with packed trolleys and baskets
A shopper outside Costco in Birmingham stocked up on toilet rolls ahead of the shutdown starting just 72 hours away
Toilet products were incredibly popular among some shoppers in the West Midlands who had their trolley filled
Twitter users described desperate scenes inside and outside stores as panic buying gripped some parts of the nation
Barking and Dagenham Cllr Andrew Achilleos urged people to act sensibly.
He said: ‘There is no need to panic buy.
‘Just continue doing your normal weekly shop whilst following social distancing guidelines.
‘The only way things will run out is if people insist on buying literally everything for no good reason.’
Lines and lines of shoppers massed to get in despite shops selling essentials staying being open throughout lockdown
Despite the cold conditions and chilly weather customers were still keen to be able to do their shopping today in Birmingham
Some shoppers are concerned stock of essential items could run out during lockdown due to a huge rise in demand
What are the rules for shops from Thursday?
Shops that can stay open:
- Food shops
- Garden centres
- Retailers providing essential goods and services
Shops that must shut (including but not limited to):
- Electronics stores
- Vehicle showrooms
- Travel agents
- Betting shops
- Auction houses
- Car washes
- Tobacco and vape shops
On Twitter David Clayton describe apocalyptic scenes as he ventured out into London.
He said: ‘Just had to go into the city. Armageddon.
‘Like a scene from day of the dead. People with a look in their eyes that’s a mix of panic and desperation.
‘Quick buy stuff regardless of whether or not they need it. Horrible.’
There was also difficulties in trying to secure delivery slots to get food sent to homes.
In some parts of London, Morrisons had no availability for the whole of the month of November.
It came after the Covid Quad committee, which has taken all the key strategic decisions during the pandemic, met in the Cabinet Office on Friday amid doomsday predictions from the Government’s SAGE committee of scientific advisers.
Mr Johnson was forced to unveil the new lockdown at a hurriedly-arranged press conference yesterday after plans from the meeting leaked.
The measures come into force from midnight on Thursday morning until December 2, and close all but essential shops, restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and leisure centres.
The furlough scheme that pays workers 80% of their wages will be extended for a month, and travel outside the UK will be allowed only for ‘work’.
Mr Johnson said it was the the only way to avert bleak Sage predictions of 85,000 deaths this winter, which would force doctors to choose between saving Covid sufferers and those with other illnesses.
He said: ‘No responsible PM can ignore the message of those figures. We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature.’
Key points in COVID lockdown Mark 2
- People can only leave their homes for specific reasons, such as to do essential shopping, for outdoor exercise, and for work if they are unable to work from home.
- Non-essential shops will be told to shut
- Restaurants and bars will be told to close unless they can operate a takeaway service.
- Travel abroad is only permitted for ‘essential’ reasons such as work, people can still return to the UK from abroad.
- Leisure centres, gyms, sporting venues, hairdressers and beauty parlours will have to close, although professional sport will continue.
- Key businesses that cannot operate remotely – such as construction – should carry on as before.
- Places of worship can stay open for private prayer. Funerals are limited to close family only.
- The furlough scheme will be extended during the period of the lockdown
- Exercise is permitted with no limits on frequency, but organised sports – including outdoor activities such as golf – will not be permitted.