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Crowds rush to some supermarkets as Covid-19 enters NZ

Feb 29, 2020

Some Auckland supermarkets are restricting entry today, due to unusually high numbers of shoppers.

The supermarket rush coincides with the confirmation of the first coronavirus case in New Zealand.

One Auckland supermarket manager told RNZ they noticed a surge of customers after the confirmed case was announced last night. They said many people were purchasing toilet paper, hand sanitiser, and tinned food.

In a statement, Foodstuffs said some supermarkets were limiting the number of people in-store at any one time.

"This decision is being made for the safety and comfort of customers, and will be utilised for short periods as needed.

"If customers continue to shop normally, stores will have no issues providing the usual range of products. We would ask customers to resist the urge to stock up as this simply puts unnecessary pressure on stores."

Some stores could be completely out of stock of hand sanitiser and face masks and others could have quantity limitations in place, it said.

"We are continuing to work closely with vendors to secure as much stock as possible, and exploring sourcing new brands to fill the gap, but volumes are limited due to international demand.

"If a customer's local store is sold out of the antibacterial products they are looking for, we ask for patience as we secure more stock and get it on store shelves."

One customer, Paula Korunić, visited Pak 'n Save in Royal Oak at 8am today.

Crowds of people were purchasing toilet paper, hand sanitiser, and tissues, she said.

"The main entrance was locked... because they were letting in groups of about five people at a time, because the supermarket was essentially at capacity because of people panic buying."

Lots of people were rushing around inside and queues at the checkout were very long, she said.

Countdown supermarkets declined to comment.

Main Image: A queue outside a Royal Oak supermarket, after a case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Auckland yesterday. Photo: Twitter

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