It’s been nearly four months since Australia faced the Great Toilet Paper Crisis of March but it feels like it’s happening all over again — Woolworths and Coles are reinstating its loo paper buying restrictions.
The supermarket giants both announced Australians will once again need to limit their toilet paper and paper towel purchases.
At Woolworths, the new restrictions begin from from 2pm AEST on Friday 26 June and will limit customers to two packets of the product per person until the demand returns back to normal levels. At this stage, the new national restrictions only apply to toilet paper and paper towels.
We're reinstating a 2 pack limit on toilet paper & paper towel in all stores following a surge in demand across different parts of Aus. We've ordered 650,000+ extra packs into our network – more than 30% up on usual volumes. Plenty of stock. More here: https://t.co/7FaHw076oV— Woolworths (@woolworths) June 26, 2020
Coles took it a step further and limited toilet paper and paper towel purchases to one pack per person immediately from 26 June. For those in Victoria or on the NSW-Victoria border, two-pack limits apply to hand sanitiser, flour, eggs, sugar, mince, UHT milk, rice and pasta.
Two days earlier, Woolworths had also introduced the two-purchase limits for Victorians. They included purchase restrictions on sanitiser, paper towel, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, long-life milk, eggs and rice in Victorian stores.
The changes come as the state has struggled to contain minor outbreaks of coronavirus since restrictions were eased.
“While the [national] demand is not at the same level as Victoria, we’re taking preventative action now to get ahead of any excessive buying this weekend and help maintain social distancing in our stores,” Claire Peters, Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director said in a media release.
“We have ordered more than 650,000 additional packs of toilet roll into our network, which is an increase of more than 30 per cent on our usual volumes. We have plenty of stock for all of us, so we encourage our customers to buy only what they need and think of others in the community as they shop this weekend.
“If customers already have enough toilet roll at home, there is no need to buy more.”
Further two-purchase limits were applied for Woolworths stores in Victoria on 24 June. They included purchase restrictions on sanitiser, paper towel, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, long-life milk, eggs and rice in Victorian stores. It came as the state has struggled to contain minor outbreaks of coronavirus since restrictions were eased.
Given we’ve been through this before, you think we’d now be more enlightened versions of our previous selves. In March, things were a little crazy as the situation internationally started to deteriorate.
Still, the loo paper was never really at real risk of running out — just our collective sanity. Australia’s toilet paper manufacturers were able to ramp up production schedules and it was just a matter of delivering the panic buying gold to stores in time.
In times like these, it’s important not to buy more than you actually need. It stops others, who might need it more desperately, from getting access and it’s the last thing we need right now.
This article was updated on 26 June to include an announcement from Coles on its buying restrictions.