Coles imposes buying limits on toilet paper & painkillers

First, it was meat products and now Coles has brought back purchase limits on toilet paper and introduced new buying restrictions on painkiller medications, including Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, and Aspirin.

The limits apply to all Coles supermarkets across Australia, with customers now only allowed to buy one pack of toilet paper per transaction, while painkillers are limited to two items per customer. This follows the reintroduction of buying limits on meat products last week.

Supermarkets have grappled with staff shortages since the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the country, and this is now affecting the supply chain and leading to stock shortages nationwide. Distribution centres are struggling to find drivers and packers while supermarket stores also struggle to get workers. Videos of empty supermarket shelves are now circulating widely on social media.

Coles said in a statement on Twitter: “To maintain availability and make it fair for everyone we’ve introduced national purchase limits: toilet paper (1 pack) and select medicinal items (Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin) (2 packs).”

“Please continue to treat our team with kindness & respect and only purchase what you need.”

Woolworths has also reintroduced buying limits on toilet paper as well as imposed restrictions on painkiller medications. ALDI hasn’t yet reintroduced customer limits, although some chemists have limited the purchase of painkillers.

Reports of customers panic buying painkillers come after Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Michael Kidd, urged Australians to be prepared for potential infections of the milder Omicron strain by having over-the-counter medicines on hand in case of mild aches or fever symptoms.

Aussies have already taken to social media to vent their frustrations at dwindling stocks of medicines.

“No Panadol on the shelves at my local Woolworths yesterday − stripped bare,” one person said.

“Use Panadol they say. There’s no Panadol to buy at Coles, at Woolworths, at the four local chemists, or at ALDI. There is no Nurofen either,’ another person wrote.

Professor Kidd said the prevalence of the Omicron variant would lead to many Australians testing positive over the coming weeks.

Coles buying limits

Here are the current buying restrictions in place across Coles supermarkets. The following meat products are now limited to two items per customer in-stores and online (excluding WA):

  • Chicken breasts
  • Chicken thighs
  • Mince
  • Sausages

The following product limits are being applied nationally:

  • Select medicinal items including Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, and Aspirin (two units per customer)
  • Toilet paper (one pack per customer)

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