LOOK: Long queues greet Chatsworth shoppers ahead of national lockdown
Durban -Longer than normal queues have greeted shoppers at several shopping malls in Chatsworth on Thursday as hundreds of people flocked to shops and other retailers to stock up on good ahead of 21 day national lockdown.
These were the normal monthly grocery shoppers who had to contend with an upsurge in other shoppers who flooded supermarkets in the hours leading to the 21 day national lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Dire warnings of “disruptions” to the country’s food supply system because of panic buying were reiterated as consumers continued to flood stores ahead of the imminent national lockdown starting at midnight on Thursday.
Government and food retailers stressed that the country had sufficient supply of essential food and home products for the 21-day national lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.
Chatsworth resident and local councillor Sagar Singh said he had been to three different malls, on Thursday morning.
Each one had snaking queues originating from supermarkets.
"There was order. No chaos. People are patient. People are calm nobody cutting I think people are understanding of the issue. There are restrictions in place. They are allowing 20 people at a time into the stores. I have seen many trolleys go out half full so it tells me that people are not panic buying. People are buying the essentials,"Singh said.
The lockdown, which would limit the movement of citizens across the country, was announced as part of the government's efforts to stem the rapid spread of coronavirus, which had infected over 700 people on Wednesday up from 402 on Monday.
Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel said that supermarkets and the entire food supply chain would be exempt from the lockdown.
He said the limit of 100 people did not apply to firms, such as supermarkets, that were permitted to remain open, but added that health precautions needed to be taken.