Empty shelves at Woolworths are a common site. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Empty shelves at Woolworths are a common site. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Coronavirus panic buying: Call for 'elderly hour' at major retailers

By Siphokazi Vuso Time of article published Mar 18, 2020

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Cape Town – A call has gone out to retail stores to institute an “elderly hour” for those vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus, as thousands of shoppers have raided shelves in a panic-buying splurge.

The request by locals follows some retailers around the world dedicating an hour of the day to allow the elderly and those with disabilities to shop for their needs.

The Cape Times approached major retailers and asked them whether they were considering the option.

Shoprite group executive Pieter Engelbrecht said: “We have new stock arriving regularly and we are working around the clock to keep shelves stocked.”

Clicks chief commercial officer, Rachel Wrigglesworth, said the company was limiting products to six items per customer, in items such as hand sanitisers, toilet paper, vitamins, children’s medicine and pain relief medications.

A Woolworths in South Africa spokesperson said the company had increased the quantity of hand sanitisers in store for use by both customers and employees.

Food Lover’s Market group chief executive, Brian Coppin, said hand sanitisers were made available at the entrance to all its stores.

Retail executive for marketing at Pick n Pay, John Bradshaw, said the chain would open all its supermarkets and hypermarkets an hour earlier every Wednesday during the crisis.

Cape Times

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