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Outcry over empty shelves

Pandemonium seems to be the order of the day in the aftermath of the initial coronavirus diagnoses in South Africa, what with the populace descending on shops and making a beeline for toilet paper, sanitising products and foodstuff stocks for stockpiling – as if total isolation were imminent.

Aside from the usual products, people have also begun stocking up on thermometers in their panic, in case they catch fever.

Several retail shops in Paarl are running out of stocks and are unable to meet demand.

The Shoprite Group, among other retailers, appeals to customers not to engage in panicked purchasing and go overboard with coronavirus-linked stockpiling, because of its implications for availability. It also assures customers it is going all out to restock its shelves as quickly as possible as well as its warehouses.

“The gaps now evident on our shelves, and those of other supermarkets, are due to the unprecedented demand as a result of fear over the effect of the coronavirus,” Pieter Engelbrecht, group CEO, said. “But we have new stock arriving regularly, and are working around the clock to keep shelves stocked. Our newly launched online and click-and-collect services are at full capacity, and staff and suppliers are working day and night to keep the nation supplied.

“We understand consumers’ concerns, but appeal to them to support each other, to make sure everyone has access to the items they need. Stockpiling will hit the most vulnerable the hardest.”

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