Retail giant Coles has joined rival Woolworths in limiting the amount of toilet paper people can buy after Australian supermarket shelves were stripped of the bathroom staple due to coronavirus-prompted panic.
The supermarket announced on Thursday it would implement a temporary restriction of four packs of toilet roll for each purchase.
"To ensure all of our customers have access to toilet paper, a temporary purchase limit of four packs per customer transaction will now apply in-store and online," a Coles spokeswoman said in a statement on Thursday.
"This will help us maintain stock levels in stores while our suppliers increase local production and our distribution centres increase deliveries."
Coles follows the lead of Woolworths who established a four-pack toilet paper limit - both in-store and online - on Wednesday, saying the measure would shore up stock levels in the face of "higher than usual demand".
While Coles acknowledged there may be some temporary stock shortages, a spokeswoman said the vast majority of products remained available.
The Victorian Council of Social Service urged the public to consider others, especially those living on low incomes, before stockpiling.
"You know who can't 'panic buy' and stockpile goods? People on low incomes, living week to week on little cash," VCOSS posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
"Runs on essential items hurt people in poverty."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged Australians to stay calm despite the spread of COVID-19 and on Tuesday consulted with Woolworths and Coles about the virus' impact on supply chains and consumer behaviour.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday said there were no issues with toilet paper supply in NSW and urged the public to refrain from bulk-buying.
"People should just go about their daily business in terms of the products they purchase and I don't see a need to do that (bulk buy) at this stage," she said.
Australian Associated Press