Supermarkets cut hours amid panic buying

 

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths will shut their Melbourne stores at 7.45pm for at least the next six weeks ahead of the strict 8pm curfew.

Both retailers have moved to restrict trading after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews revealed the 8pm to 5am curfew for metropolitan Melbourne as part of tough stage 4 restrictions to try to stem rising coronavirus infections.

Coles and Woolworths said the latest a customer would be able to enter stores was 7.30pm every night and stores would close at 7.45pm unless existing trading hours already specified an earlier closing time.

Coles said the measures apply to supermarkets, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, First Choice and First Choice Liquor Market stores.

 

People line up outside a Coles supermarket in Malvern on Sunday ahead of stage 4 restrictions. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
People line up outside a Coles supermarket in Malvern on Sunday ahead of stage 4 restrictions. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

 

The company said Coles Express would continue to trade regular hours so that essential services and exempt transport providers were able to access fuel and other essentials.

Both Coles and Woolworths again reinstated purchase limits on some staple items as another wave of panic buying gripped Melbourne on Sunday ahead of the restrictions.

Many shelves were stripped bare by noon with meat, fruit and vegetables among the items hoarded by shoppers.

 

 

Shoppers outside a Woolworths store in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran in July. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw
Shoppers outside a Woolworths store in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran in July. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw

 

Coles now has two-pack limits on mince meat, chicken breasts, chicken thighs and hand sanitiser, and a one-pack limit on face masks.

Woolworths reintroduced two-pack limits on more than 50 items, including meat, frozen vegetables and long-life milk, while there is also a 1kg limit on meat, smallgoods and poultry from the deli and 2kg on fresh carrots, onions and potatoes.

Aldi supermarkets usually shut at 8pm or earlier, with trading hours typically 8.30am to 7pm or 8pm.

Mr Andrews is expected to announce further restrictions on some businesses and industries on Monday, but supermarkets, bakers, petrol stations and pharmacies will be among the essential services allowed to continue normal trading.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

Originally published as Supermarkets cut hours amid panic buying


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