Supermarket Brings Back Rationing after New Covid Curbs

Morrisons has become the first major British supermarket chain to reintroduce shopper restrictions on purchases of key items after the government imposed new measures to stem the second wave of Covid-19.

Britain’s fourth-largest supermarket group, Morrisons, said it was limiting consumers buying products such as soaps, rice, toilet rolls, disinfectants and bleach to a maximum of three items. It has also applied some limits to online orders. “We’ve got decent stock levels but we want to be sure that they are available for everyone,” said a Morrisons spokesman.

A company spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Andrex toilet rolls and Kleenex wipes, said it was currently seeing a moderate increase in the demand for Andrex toilet tissue, but that it had more than enough product to ensure a steady supply across the UK. “Our supply chain to our retail partners is running smoothly meaning we are well equipped to respond to, and meet, increased demand when required.”

Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble PG.N, behind kitchen and bathroom surface care brand Viakal, said in an email that it felt good about its level of preparedness “for whatever turns the retail market might take,” using its learnings from the first Covid-19 wave in the UK in March.

A Waitrose spokeswoman said: ‘It’s not something we are doing at the moment. We are holding good levels in all key product areas and we have also looked at the items people bought early in lockdown and planned ahead.’

Meanwhile, Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said earlier this week that the grocer has ‘very good supplies of food’. He said: ‘We just don’t want to see a return to unnecessary panic buying because that creates a tension in the supply chain that’s not necessary. And therefore we would just encourage customers to continue to buy as normal.’ 

Mask Marshals

The UK’s largest grocery chains introduced health and safety measures to cope with the pandemic earlier this year as stores remained open due to their essential status, although some restrictions have been relaxed in recent months. 

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Tony Winterburn

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