Woolies' grim toilet paper message as Coles cracks down
Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci has issued a grim message about toilet paper supplies as Australian continue to panic buy and stockpile it among a number of household "staples'.
In an email sent to hundreds of customers, Mr Banducci said toilet paper "won't be available for pick up orders for the time being".
"Limits are now in place on toilet paper, wipes, paper towels, serviettes, rice and some other items," he said.
"Our toilet paper suppliers continue to work on meeting increased demand, and we're working with some suppliers to prioritise the production of smaller pack sizes, so we can make more packs available to you this week.
"Our team will be happy to see if toilet paper is available in store when you come in to pick up your order.
"We've been working hard to keep our shelves stocked and delivery and pick up windows available.
"However, as you are no doubt aware, demand is still very high and products are being bought more quickly than usual when they arrive in store.
"These remain challenging times and with the situation evolving."
Mr Banducci said Woolworths had augmented its cleaning and hygiene practices with "an extra 4 hours of proactive deep cleaning in each supermarket every day".
He also said if any customer or employee of at any individual supermarket was confirmed as having COVID-19 "we'll let you know in that store"
Meanwhile, supermarket giant Coles has announced a raft of strict new limits in a bid to ensure shelves don't run dry of essential items in the wake of coronavirus.
Previously, Coles had restricted shoppers to the purchase of one pack of toilet paper, per customer, per shop. Other items could be bought in bulk.
However, the company has now expanded the restrictions to rice and pasta among other items.
Friday evening Coles' chief executive office Steven Cain said staff had been working "as hard as possible" to get more products on shelves - but more action needed.
"As the situation around coronavirus continues to develop, we believe that everyone in the community should have access to their share of grocery items, particularly the
elderly," he said.
From Saturday, pasta, flour, rice, paper towels, tissues and hand sanitiser will be limited to two items per customer per shop.
The company will also be following Woolworths in temporarily suspending change-of-mind refunds to discourage over-purchasing.
"If you have already purchased additional items you no longer want, please look at donating them to community organisations or neighbours who have been struggling to purchase them during this time,"
"We will get through this together," Mr Cain added.
Woolworths has also recently revealed a list of extensive shopper restrictions it has imposed to kerb panic buying.
In addition to limits on toilet paper, hand sanitiser and bulk packs of rice, the supermarket giant has imposed limits on tissues paper towels, serviette and wipes.
Woolies' customers are limited to a two-pack purchase per shop of tissues, paper towel, serviettes, wipes and toilet paper.
Hand sanitiser is limited to two units per shop while bulk rice purchases (2kg and upwards) are limited to one pack per shop
Online shoppers are still able to have their food delivered. However, both the major grocers are now offering no contact delivery.
"In the interests of driver safety, we have a dedicated delivery option for customers who feel unwell or are in self-isolation, which sees our drivers leave the orders unattended," a Woolworths spokesman said today.
"For all other orders, we're continuing to offer delivery in the home.
"Our transport partners have been issuing regular advisories to all delivery drivers on hygiene protocols and workplace safety.
"We'll continue to monitor and respond to the latest public health advice in all our operations."
A Coles spokeswoman said they were continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation very closely.
"Demand for Coles Online has increased in the past two weeks, with many customers using our home delivery and Click & Collect services," she said.
"We have opened additional delivery windows and have extra delivery vans on the roads to meet the customer demand.
"Customers who notify Coles that they are self-quarantined will receive an unattended delivery."
She said every Coles Online van had also been equipped with hand sanitiser.
"We are confident that the measures we have in place are adequately addressing known risks, and we will continue to take advice from the Department of Health on this matter," she said.
"As a food retailer, Coles already has very high standards in place for the cleanliness of our stores. We have reinforced comprehensive cleaning and hygiene guidelines with all our team members for high-touch areas and are following our food safety plans."
- with Stephanie Bedo