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FOOD & DRINK

Woolworths Has Reintroduced Limits on Everyday Items Across Its Victorian Stores

The move comes after an increase in COVID-19 cases in six Victorian local government areas, including a spike in community transmission.
By Sarah Ward
June 24, 2020
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Woolworths Has Reintroduced Limits on Everyday Items Across Its Victorian Stores

The move comes after an increase in COVID-19 cases in six Victorian local government areas, including a spike in community transmission.
By Sarah Ward
June 24, 2020
  shares

Everyone remembers the great supermarket frenzy of just a few months back, when stores looked like post-apocalyptic film sets, people were everywhere but shelves were bare. And, as a response to the huge onslaught of panic-buying when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit — with shoppers hoarding everything toilet paper and hand sanitiser to pasta and milk — we all remember the item limits put in place by Aussie chains.

Two months after local supermarkets started to lift those caps (and after the great bog roll crisis of 2020 seemed like it was over), Woolworths is now reintroducing restrictions — on some everyday staples, and across all of its Victorian stores. Announcing the news today, Wednesday, June 24, the company said it was a "preventative move in response to significantly elevated demand seen over the past 24 hours in certain parts of Melbourne". It also advised that the limits "will support social distancing in stores and ensure more customers have access to the products they need".

On the restricted list: toilet paper, hand sanitiser and paper towel, as well as flour, sugar, pasta, rice, mince, long-life milk and eggs. They were all subject to previous item caps, too — and, from today onwards, Victorians will only be able to purchase two of each in one transaction for the foreseeable future. That applies to both in-person and online orders.

Explaining the return of item limits, Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Claire Peters noted that, while Woolworths still has plenty of stock, it's "taking this precautionary step to help prevent excessive buying and support appropriate social distancing in our Victorian stores". She continued: "we'll closely monitor demand across Victoria in the coming days and look to wind back the limits as soon as we can".

The move comes in response to Victoria's recent spike in COVID-19 numbers over the past couple of weeks, with new cases on the rise in the state and community transmission levels increasing. Since Wednesday, June 17, new case numbers have hovered around 20 per day, including exactly 20 new cases reported in the past 24 hours. In fact, as the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) noted in a statement on Sunday, June 21, 83 percent of Australia's newly confirmed COVID-19 cases over the week prior were in Victoria. Of those 116 new Victorian cases in total, 87 "are largely associated with community transmission".

Victoria's current increase in cases is focused around six local government areas: Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin. As a result, "the AHPPC strongly discourages travel to and from those areas until control of community transmission has been confirmed".

The rising Victorian case numbers have already sparked action at the state government level. Victoria's State of Emergency has been extended for four more weeks, and Premier Daniel Andrews also announced the tightening of some gathering restrictions — reintroducing smaller caps on at-home groups, gatherings out of the house and the numbers of patrons allowed in venues.

At the time of writing, Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services advises that there have been 241 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria that have been acquired through unknown transmission — and there are currently 141 active cases in Victoria.

For more information about the state of COVID-19 in Victoria, head to the Department of Health and Human Services website

For more information about Woolworths' reinstated item limits, head to the supermarket's website.

Published on June 24, 2020 by Sarah Ward

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