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19 March 2020, 12:36 | Updated: 20 March 2020, 12:12
Supermarket giants Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado, Morrisons, Iceland, Aldi and Sainsbury's are clamping down on shoppers stock-piling by introducing rations across their products.
This week many vulnerable people have been left unable to buy key items as the shelves have been stripped bare amidst the Covid-19 panic.
The situation has got so tense, there have been reports of shoppers secretly nabbing items from other people's trolleys and even a mugging of toilet roll as people rush to protect themselves should they need to go into self-isolation.
Next time u think about Panic Buying "just bcoz" think back to this picture & think of all the vulnerable people who haven't got the luxury of jumping in car are & heading to 18 different stores to find what they need.This picture hits home & broke my 💔#COVIDー19 #panicshopping pic.twitter.com/0OpMyIRaim— Pan Africano🇿🇦 (@PanAfricology) March 15, 2020
However, now rules have been set in place so that everyone is able to get hold of the essentials they need.
Checkout staff have a license to remove items from shoppers if they are trying to sneak extra items through.
As it stands here is a run down of what each supermarket is restricting...
There is a three-item maximum on items such as milk, pastas, baked beans and anti-bacterial wipes per person.
It also cut opening hours at all its 24-hour stores, it will now be open from 6am until 10pm in order to restock.
All items are being restricted to three per person as they are desperately trying to increase stock.
All the store's cafés and restaurants from Friday Match 20, to allow staff to keep shelves replenished throughout the day as well as coffee bars.
Waitrose has also started a shopping hour for the elderly and vulnerable.
Customers are allowed a maximum of four packets of toilet roll each.
The store has also said it will launch a new range of simple-to-order food parcels from March 23.
Morrisons say: "You may notice that delivery slots for our online groceries service are becoming less readily available as demand for home deliveries increases. We're working hard to facilitate as many orders as we can, however please be aware that you may need to book your slot further in advance than usual."You will also discover that there is a maximum order number on selected products so we can make sure our customers still have access to essential products."
Customers can only buy up to three items on all food, toiletries and cleaning products
Hand sanitiser had also been restricted to two per person, while cafes and pizza counters have been closed to free space and staff in order to help keep shelves fully stocked.
The supermarket has reduced opening hours of all its 24-hour stores to enable re-stocking, so that they will be closed between 12am and 6am.
The supermarket's website writes: ""Whilst we are doing everything we can to maintain the availability of products for all our customers, we are asking our customers to shop responsibly in our stores and online so that everyone has access to the essentials.
"We are also grateful to our colleagues for their efforts to make sure our shelves are being refilled regularly and would ask customers to be patient with them as they try to meet this increased demand for products on the shop floor."
Customers can only buy a maximum of three of any grocery product.
When it comes to their most popular items such as hand wash, toilet rolls and cleaners, these are limited to two units per customer.
Sainsbury's have closed counters and cafes to make sure staff are devoted to essentials.
As well as this, the first opening hour in every supermarket has been set aside for elderly and vulnerable customers and they will also get priority with online delivery slots.
For all other customers, supermarkets will open one hour after the opening time.
The supermarket's two per customer limit will affect a "small number of household products" including hand sanitiser, hand wash, disinfectant spray and large packs of toilet tissue.
A spokesperson said that the company had "well-established contingency plans."
Earlier this week, it was also reported that a branch in Belfast was opening its doors to the elderly every morning, from 8am to 9am.
It has since been announced that several other Iceland stores are following suit.
There is a four unit maximum across all products in Aldi after seeing "unprecedented demand" across its store.
It added: "All our stores remain open and continue to serve our valued customers. We have good product availability and our colleagues are working tirelessly to restock and replenish shelves as quickly as they can."
All our stores remain open and continue to serve our valued customers. We have good product availability and our incredible colleagues are working tirelessly to restock and replenish shelves as quickly as they can. (1/2)— Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) March 14, 2020
As we have seen an unprecedented demand across our range, we will be limiting customer purchases to four units on all products to ensure all of our customers have an opportunity to purchase them. We thank you all for your patience during this time. (2/2)— Aldi Stores UK (@AldiUK) March 14, 2020
The online supermarket is not processing orders for new customers however this weekend the app and website has crashed due to the demand.
Two 12-packs of toilet roll are allowed per customer.
They say: "In this time of unusual demand, we have made the call to temporarily prioritise deliveries for you, our existing customers. This means, after today we will not be processing new customer bookings for the time being.
"Naturally, we are very sorry to have to disappoint anyone that chooses Ocado, and we’re working hard to increase our delivery capacity."
Two hand sanitisers are being allowed per person.
Currently there are no restrictions in place.