Desperate country supermarkets are forced to hire BOUNCERS to stop panic buyers from the city buying up all their produce
- Hundreds of out-of-towners have flocked to Williamson’s Foodworks in Gisborne
- The desperate shoppers drove more than 56km from Melbourne to the store
- The owner said it was hard to find a car space and traffic has become banked up
- Foodworks hired two security guards to stop panic buyers from raiding shelves
- Scott Morrison has urged Australians to stop hoarding food and other supplies
A supermarket in regional Australia has been forced to hire bouncers to check customers for proof they are locals as panic buyers stream in from the big cities.
Williamson’s Foodworks in Gisborne, in regional Victoria, has seen hundreds of customers from Melbourne descend on the store.
Melbourne is more than 56 kilometers away.
Owner David Williamson said it was nearly impossible to find a car space and traffic has become banked up by out-of-towners flocking to stock up at Gisborne’s three supermarkets.
A supermarket in regional Australia has been forced to hire bouncers to check customers for proof they are locals as panic buyers stream in from the big cities
General view outside a Woolworths in Sunbury as people wait outside on Tuesday
Mr Williamson has even fired two security guards to stand with other staff members at the entrance and check customers’ IDs.
‘We’ve had a couple of really irate customers. Ultimately, they weren’t my customers because they didn’t have cards, but others in line were sticking up for the store and the family I suppose,’ he told The Age.
‘From an industry point of view we can’t cope with it. It’s just so far out of control. We can’t get enough stock for a normal week, let alone for panic buying.’
‘People say ‘I’d love to own a supermarket now’. Yeah, not really. You’ve got elderly people who can’t even get toilet paper, let alone basic food items.
Coles at Woodend, about 70 kilometres north-west of the city, has also been inundated with Melbourne residents clearing out shelves.
In a desperate bid to get ahead of the crowd of customers, the supermarket giant has pleaded for outsiders to stay away for a few days so elderly residents could buy necessities.
Some panic-buyers went into the store a number of times to get around purchase limits.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Coles said they would be looking into extra security measures in the wake of recent panic buying.
Australians are sharing the stark reality of buying groceries in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic grips the world
Scott Morrison said the panic-buying chaos sweeping grocery stores across the country has been one of the ‘most disappointing things’ he has seen in ‘Australian behaviour’ in response to this crisis
‘Coles takes the wellbeing of our customers and team members seriously and we are constantly reviewing security measures to manage the unprecedented levels of demand we are seeing in our stores,’ he said.
‘We ask that customers to continue to show compassion towards fellow customers and team members at this challenging time.’
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 561
New South Wales: 267
South Australia: 37
Western Australia: 31
Northern Territory: 1
Australian Capital Territory: 3
TOTAL CASES: 561
Scott Morrison is also urging Australians to stop hoarding food and other supplies.
The prime minister said the panic-buying chaos sweeping grocery stores across the country has been one of the ‘most disappointing things’ he has 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,’ he said as he addressed the nation on Wednesday.
‘What it does is it is distracting attention and efforts that need to be going into other measures, to be focusing on how we maintain supply chains into these shopping centres.
‘It’s ridiculous. It’s un-Australian, and it must stop, and I would ask people to do the right thing by each other in getting a handle on these sorts of practices.’
He also asked people to refrain from ‘abusing staff’, as footage emerged online of customers verbally attacking supermarket employees because they couldn’t locate goods.