Giant queues formed outside Costco stores today as panic-buyers raced to bulk-buy essentials like toilet roll and tinned goods on the day tighter coronavirus restrictions were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Supermarket shelves aross Britain have been emptied of pasta, rice and tinned food as desperate Britons prepare to hunker down at home for a second lockdown.
It comes as the Prime Minister made a speech in the House of Commons announcing tightened coronavirus restrictions.
The frenzied buying has echoes of the empty shelves seen in March as shoppers stocked up on essential items ahead of the first nationwide lockdown
This shopper’s car was packed with loo roll as she prepared to depart the Costco store in Leeds this morning
An industrial trolley was needed for this massive haul of toilet tissue at the Leeds Costco superstore first thing today
Long snaking queues also formed at Costco in Chingford, north London, this morning with specialist barriers set up in a zig zag formation to control the growing crowds
These Manchester customers left Costco with stacks of loo roll as it emerged stocks of other essential items like pasta, flour and tinned goods are also selling fast
Panicked shoppers are emptying the shelves of toilet roll amid fears a second coronavirus lockdown could be announced (pictured, shoppers at Costco in Leeds)
A zig zag barrier system was laid out at Costco’s Chingford store to control the queues as big crowds descended on the store
Costco wholesale stores across the UK saw a surge in shoppers today, leading to long queues (pictured: Costco store, Leeds)
This was the sight at the Costco store in Leeds where metal barriers had been erected to control the growing crowds
Pasta, flour, rice and tinned goods were among the key items that people were buying as people stocked up at Costco stores today
Bottled water was among the list of fast selling items, with this couple leaving the Chingford Costco with trolley-loads
Two trollies were needed to carry this shoppers purchases as they were seen loading it in to the back of their car in Leeds
As customers flooded social media with pictures of empty aisles, one shopper declared: ‘It’s happening again’ (pictured: Costco customer in Manchester)
This shopper did not appear to have brought any groceries on his visit to the Leeds Costco store, instead choosing to stock up on loo roll amid fears of panic-buying
His announcement comes after Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said yesterday the UK could hit 50,000 cases a day by mid-October and 200 plus daily deaths by November unless Britain changes course.
The new restrictions, announced by Boris Johnson in a speech at the House of Commons, include:
- A 10pm curfew on all pubs, bars and restaurants in England from this Thursday onwards.
- Face coverings must be worn by retail workers, customers in indoor hospitality settings and taxi pasengers.
- All those who can are now bring asked to work from home, with people like construction workers exempt.
- Mr Johnson said the UK is at a ‘perilous turning point’ as he warned the new restrictions could ‘remain in place for perhaps six months’.
- Only 15 people will be allowed to attend weddings, with the cap remaining at 30 for funerals.
Items starting to disappear from shelves
- Tinned tomatoes/tomato sauces
- Toilet paper
- Other tinned goods
Amid growing concern that a second lockdown is on the way, shoppers have been emptying supermarket shelves of essential items.
Toilet rolls, frozen food and long-life produce was wiped from the shelves in some stores in scenes familiar to March before lockdown was announced.
Wholesale shop Costco was inundated with customers with stores in Leeds, London and Manchester seeing a surge in visitors.
Many stores had to erect barriers to regulate the growing queues, and shoppers were seen leaving with overflowing trollies as they stocked up on supplies.
As customers flooded social media with pictures of empty aisles, one shopper declared: ‘It’s happening again.’
Another wrote on Twitter: ‘Masks, toilet paper, pasta, flour, bread and fresh meat. Queues at supermarkets for the above and empty shelves.’
But shoppers have been urged to restrain themselves from panic-buying, with retailers insisting there is not need for it.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said yesterday: ‘We urge consumers to be considerate of others and shop as they normally would.’
He played down the presence of panic-buying and paid tribute to the ‘excellent job’ of retailers to provide food during the pandemic.
Reassuring the public, he added: ‘Supply chains are stronger than ever before and we do not anticipate any issues in the availability of food or other goods under any future lockdown.’
Extra security was on hand to police the growing queues as shoppers waited to get inside the Chingford Costco in north London to pick up essential items
People could be seen wearing masks as they queued behind barriers outside the Chingford Costco in north London
The queues come after Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said yesterday the UK could hit 50,000 cases a day by mid-October and 200 plus daily deaths by November unless Britain changes course (pictured, Costco Chingford)
The queues could be seen stretching into the car park in this north London Costco branch
Shoppers left with stacked trollies, with one person at Costco Chingford leaving with multiple packs of bottled water
Toilet tissue and juice were high on the list of priorites for this shopper who went to the Leeds Costco store this morning
This trolley was overflowing at the Leeds Costco branch today, where shoppers descended and formed long queues
Loading up his car with loo roll and other shopping, a man at the Leeds Costco store is seen wearing a mask
Customers at Costco in Leeds stock up on toilet roll amid the fear that another national lockdown is on the way
But supermarkets are bolstering security at their doors and have doubled the number of delivery slots.
One supermarket worker in Birmingham told The Mirror: ‘Some people are definitely panic buying again. We have 4,000 more items this weekend than we usually would.
‘When the panic buying started months ago, we hadn’t experienced it. We are prepared now.’
Another tweeted today: ‘ I just finished my shift at work and witnessed so many customers panic buying again. Please don’t – there is no need for it!’
It comes as Morrisons announced it will be reinstating marshals at its doors to limit the number of shoppers coming in and out, while also reminding them to wear face masks.
Shoppers have shared their concern on Twitter about fears of a second wave of coronavirus fuelling the return of panic-buying, which was seen at the beginning of the crisis in March
One person on Twitter recalled the first lockdown and how people started panic buying items around that time in March
Listing the most sought after essential items, this social media user reported empty shelves and long queues at shops
Branding panic buyers ‘idiots’ this person posted that they were informed of the panic buying by their Morrisons delivery man
Asda has increased its online delivery slots by 65 per cent – from 450,000 to 700,000, with Tesco also increasing their slots
Concerned shoppers took to Twitter over the weekend to share photographs of their local supermarkets, showing shelves completely emptied of essential items.
One Twitter user shared photographs of an ASDA in London where cereals seemed in short supply, leaving shoppers with fewer brands to choose from.
Another shopper posted pictures of a Tesco in the West Midlands, where kitchen roll and toilet roll was in short supply – but had not been completely cleared out.
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One person shared pictures on Twitter, writing: ‘This was my local Tesco! People are already panic buying once again! Even though supermarkets do stay open.’
An ASDA shopper said: ‘This is our ASDA it’s madness and as you say even though they are staying open.’
And another person predicted that ‘It’s happening again’.
Tesco’s weekly ordering capacity has risen from 600,000 to 1.5million – but it remains fully booked until Wednesday.
Asda has increased its online delivery slots by 65 per cent – from 450,000 to 700,000.
There are three-day waiting times for Ocado, while Sainsbury’s is experiencing high demand.
Sainsbury’s revealed the number of Christmas pudding searches was four times higher than this time last year.
The online supermarkets pasted notices on their ‘pick a slot’ page warning customers the sites were experiencing high demand.
Ocado’s read: ‘Delivery slots are selling out faster than usual. If you can’t find a slot now, please use the ‘Next 3 days’ button to see available slots further in advance.’
A notice on Sainsbury’s delivery slots page said: ‘Slots are still in high demand. We have been working hard to expand our service. More slots are now available and we are able to offer some of them to other customers.
‘Customers who are vulnerable will get priority access and are able to book slots in advance of anyone else. We’re releasing new slots regularly so please check back if you can’t see any available.’
On Saturday, Tesco was fully booked until Wednesday with an available slots all priced at £5.50 – and there were no available spaces until Monday at Asda.
Crowds gathered as people queued to get into the large wholesale stores. Here cutomers at Costco in Leeds wait for entry
An overloaded trolley is pushed through the car park of a Costco store in Leeds as bulk-buying was seen at stores across the UK
One shopper in Leeds left Costco with at least 36 rolls of toilet roll, amid warnings from supermarkets not to bulk buy
These two men also stocked up on loo roll while shopping at the Leeds branch of Costco. The spate of bulk-buying comes ahead of Boris Johnson’s speech later today, in which he is expected to announce tighter coronavirus restrictions
This is the sight at the Chingford branch of Costco, where many people turned up to do their shopping this morning
Supermarkets are boosting security at their doors and have doubled the number of delivery slots amid fears panic buying could return
The graphic above shows the break down of what Britons spent their cash on in the supermarkets when panic buying started back in March
The Prime Minister is now threatening to ‘intensify’ coronavirus restrictions as he blames the British public for the rise in cases – despite his repeated pleas for people to return to their desks and eat out at pubs and restaurants in a bid to resuscitate Britain’s economy.
Government scientists have spooked Boris Johnson with warnings of hundreds of daily coronavirus deaths ‘within weeks’ as they said: ‘There is no alternative to a second national lockdown.’
Mr Johnson looks to ditch his Rule of Six and introduce fortnight-long ‘circuit breakers’ nationwide for six months, following claims that it was ‘inevitable’ that a second wave would hit the country.
The new approach to get the UK through winter would see it alternate periods of stricter measures, including bans on all social contact between households and shutting down hospitality and leisure venues like bars and restaurants, with intervals of relaxation. Schools will be shut as a ‘last resort’, a Whitehall source claimed.