- More coronavirus updates from today
- This coronavirus crisis story is free for all readers – please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription
Supermarkets in the Upper Spencer Gulf are experiencing the pinch of coronavirus, while people in Adelaide travel to the area in a desperate attempt to accumulate supplies.
As the panic shopping brought by COVID-19 reaches new heights, people in national and regional areas have been told that weeks may pass before the shelves are stocked with essential items such as toilet paper and paper towel.
A staff member of a Woolworths store in Port Pirie said shoppers come from all over the world, including Adelaide, to try and buy certain items, but the stock simply isn’t there.
“People come from all over the world and we can’t keep up with the stocks, we’re even getting people from Adelaide to try and stock up,” said the staff member.
“We get new stocks every night, but there is no guarantee what will happen on the truck and some of the items we haven’t fully entered for.”
It is a very similar story in all supermarkets in Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Pirie, with items such as toilet paper, paper napkin, paper handkerchiefs, tissues and completely exhausted meats.
Coles staff in Port Augusta confirmed that people travel up to five hours just for shopping.
“These people travel here and get very angry when they see the shelves as naked in the city,” said the Coles staff member.
“The reality is that we are no different from the city in the stock we have, the difference is that we take twice as long to supply some items.”
Up to 100 shoppers line up in some stores in the evening when shelves are restocked and some stores are believed to be considering acquiring security or police presence to keep order.
Port Augusta resident Glenda Howarth said she was stunned by the buyers’ attitude and is stressed about looking after her family.
“It’s been a tough time in the past week or so, I’ve been trying to shop for myself and my four children and it’s been just a mess,” Howarth said.
“I have never seen stores like this and I would never have thought of saying that I am struggling to buy toilet paper, the shops are crazy and as soon as the shelves are replenished they empty in a few minutes.”
The purchase of panic in South Australia supermarkets has extended beyond toilet tissue to meat, flour, sugar, cake mixes, long-lasting milk and eggs.
The shelves have been stripped of various essentials since an increasing number of employees have been ordered to work from home.
With restaurants, hotels and cafes already undergoing brusque patronage, Southern Australians choose to eat at home.
A visit to two Athelstone’s supermarkets The advertiser they found their bare meat shelves by mid Tuesday.
In addition, the shelves of pasta, rice, sugar, flour, cake dough, eggs, pasta sauce, canned vegetables and canned tuna were stripped or severely depleted.
One of the most surprising items required was the kitty litter box.
Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas joined Premier Steven Marshall today to appeal for calm in the supermarket aisles.
Malinauskas said she understood the desire of people who want to prepare, but “panic in supermarkets must end”.
“I ask all the inhabitants of South Australia the next time you are in the supermarket or in your local stores, ask yourself, do I really need this or someone else will need it more,” he said.
Malinauskas said that many South Australians, particularly vulnerable ones, have not been able to accumulate.
“It’s a cycle that generates more panic buying,” he said.
“Now, more than ever, we need to take care of each other.”