Singapore’s FairPrice limits purchase of items such as toilet paper, rice after panic buying following raising of coronavirus alert

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A sign advising customers on the purchase limits. NTUC FairPrice also urged shoppers to buy only what they need and not to stockpile. — TODAY pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A sign advising customers on the purchase limits. NTUC FairPrice also urged shoppers to buy only what they need and not to stockpile. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Feb 9 — NTUC FairPrice has imposed purchase limits on some paper products, rice, instant noodles and vegetables, in response to the panic buying of these items following the raising of the novel coronavirus alert on Friday.

From today, each customer is allowed to buy a maximum of:

* four packs of any combination of toilet paper, facial tissue paper and kitchen paper towels;

* two bags of rice;

* four pillow packs of instant noodles;

* S$50 (RM150) worth of vegetables.

Notices displayed on the shelves in outlets islandwide state that this is to ensure that more customers have access to high demand items.

Supply of daily essentials remain available despite the surge in demand, the supermarket chain assured shoppers, as it urged customers to buy only what they need and not to stockpile.

The buying limits are part of efforts to discourage customers from stockpiling, a FairPrice spokesperson said in response to TODAY’s queries.

“The limits are set just slightly higher than what an average grocery shopper normally buys to give customers greater purchase flexibility. Bulk purchase of vegetables is disallowed to discourage resellers,” the spokesperson said, urging shoppers again to buy only what they need.

When TODAY visited the FairPrice Finest outlet at Thomson Plaza, the notices were seen along the shelves for tissue paper and toilet paper, which were mostly empty. Supermarket workers were seen busy restocking the shelves.

Food essentials such as rice, noodles and canned food had mostly been restocked.

While the outlet was busy with fairly long queues spotted at the checkout counters, shoppers told TODAY that they were there for their regular grocery shopping and were not intending to stock up on any items.

Shoppers at the FairPrice Finest outlet at Thomson Plaza said they were going about their usual shopping routine. — TODAY pic
Shoppers at the FairPrice Finest outlet at Thomson Plaza said they were going about their usual shopping routine. — TODAY pic

A 52-year-old customer who wanted to be known only as Mr Tay said that he had made the trip to the supermarket because it was part of his usual routine and it was the first time since Friday that he had gone grocery shopping.

When asked about the photos and videos of panic buying that have been circulating online, he said that the news did not affect him.

Mrs Yuen, 48, also told TODAY that she was not at the supermarket to stock up any items.

“I’m just here for my regular shopping and to get snacks for (my daughter),” she said, declining to give her full name.

Over at the Sheng Siong supermarket outlet at private housing estate Thomson Imperial Court, it was quiet when TODAY visited today afternoon.

Workers were seen restocking the shelves with essential items such as vegetables, rice and toilet paper while the canned food and instant noodle aisle was mostly full.

Customers appeared to be going about their daily routine. — TODAY

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