Great Britain

‘Shop as normal’: Panic-buying resumes as UK braces for new lockdown measures

Shoppers have been urged to remain calm in the nation’s supermarkets amid fears of a return to the panic-buying seen in the days approaching the UK’s March lockdown.

Some supermarkets across the UK have been left with empty shelves in certain aisles - with toilet roll depleted -  in scenes reminiscent of the run on shops that occurred in ahead of the first introduction of coronavirus restrictions.

A spree of panic-buying in the early stages of the nation’s outbreak saw some forced to turn to foodbanks after being unable to get the essentials they needed to get by.

It comes ahead of anticipated new restrictions to be announced by the prime minister as the Covid-19 alert level for the UK is increased to Level 4 - meaning transmission of the virus is "high or rising exponentially”.

Director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortirum, Andrew Opie,  urged consumers to be considerate of others and "shop as you normally would”.

Mr Opie said: "Supply chains are stronger than ever before and we do not anticipate any issues in the availability of food or other goods under a future lockdown.

"Nonetheless, we urge consumers to be considerate of others and shop as they normally would."

He added that retailers have done an "excellent job" making sure customers have access to food throughout the pandemic, while installing perspex screens and other social distancing measures.

"As such, retail remains a safe space for consumers, even under future lockdowns," he said.

Despite scenes at some stores, supermarket giants Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Lidl and Aldi said they had "good availability" on Monday and have not experienced any shortages yet.

Tesco added its online capacity had almost doubled from 600,000 weekly delivery slots in March, to 1.5 million in September.

Additional reporting by agencies.

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