May 20, 2022

Woolworths and Coles introduce national limits on toilet paper and paracetamol

Woolies has followed Coles’ lead by introducing purchase limits on essential items as shelves are left empty and supply issues take their toll.

Supermarket chain Woolworths has joined Coles in introducing purchase limits on toilet paper and painkillers across the country as stock shortages due to the Covid-19 pandemic continue to bite.

Woolworths’ announcement of the product limits on Thursday comes just days after Coles did the same on Tuesday night.

At Woolworths, shoppers will now only be allowed to buy two packs of toilet paper and two packs of painkillers.

At Coles it’s also two packets of painkillers (applying to paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin), but only one packet of toilet paper.

For customers in Western Australia, Woolworths introduced new product limits on Thursday due to ‘signs of overbuying’ – a limit of two packs per customer for mince, sausages and chicken.

Coles introduced these limits on meat last week in all states except Western Australia.

Both supermarkets have a one-pack limit on rapid antigen test kits.

Coles further added to its restrictions on Thursday afternoon, introducing a slew of meat and deli purchase limits for stores in Western Australia.

Customers will be allowed to purchase a maximum of six chicken breast fillets and six chicken thigh fillets from the deli.

In the meat section, each buyer can only buy two packs of chicken breast, two packs of chicken thighs, two packs of minced meat and two packs of sausages at a time.

Woolworths stores manager Jeanette Fenske said the company was closely monitoring product availability.

“Customers will notice a few voids on the shelves, but we’re doing everything we can to keep up with demand,” she said.

“We encourage everyone to be considerate of other members of the community and to continue to shop in reasonable quantities.”

Woolworths has attributed high rates of worker absenteeism in the supply chain due to Covid to the stock levels affected across the country.

In a statement on Facebook on Tuesday, Coles said the situation was “moving rapidly.”

“Product availability in our stores has been impacted due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions,” he said.

Hours earlier, painkillers such as Panadol and Nurofen disappeared from shelves as panic buying hit new heights.

Coles told customers “there is no need to panic buy” and to “please only buy what you need.

“Our team is working hard during this difficult time – remember to show them the kindness and respect they truly deserve.”

It came just two days after Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd urged Australians to buy paracetamol and ibuprofen as many times as they test positive for Covid in the “days to come”.

“The first thing to do is to prepare,” he said.

“My advice is that you make sure you have paracetamol or ibuprofen at home in case you are diagnosed with Covid-19.

“Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to manage fever and pain.

“It’s important to be prepared because you won’t be able to go to your supermarket or pharmacy if you are diagnosed with Covid-19.”

A spokesman for GSK Consumer Healthcare, the company responsible for producing Panadol, said Thursday it was “redeploying stock from other markets” to meet demand.

“There is currently extremely high demand for Panadol, which is causing some stores and pharmacies to temporarily have a limited supply,” the company said.

“In an effort to ensure equitable access to pain relief for all Australians, some retailers have imposed purchase limits on pain relief products, which we fully support.

“We urge Australians to buy responsibly for their immediate needs. We are working to meet supply by bringing orders forward and redeploying stock from other markets. We are also working with our trading partners to ensure that stocks are widely distributed.

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