Coronavirus: Sanitiser and disinfectant flying off shelves at Dis-Chem, Clicks, MediRite, Pick n Pay
- Hand sanitiser and disinfectant have started flying off South African retail shelves.
- We visited Dis-Chem, Clicks, MediRite and Pick n Pay stores in Johannesburg and Cape Town and found in most cases empty shelves.
- Toilet paper and canned food were stocked for now, but numbers are thinning.
- For the latest case total, death toll, and travel information, see Coronavirus in South Africa.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Hand sanitiser and disinfectant have started flying off South African retail shelves as the fear of coronavirus sparks ‘panic buying’.
Since the Health Department confirmed the first case of Covid-19 in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, retailers Business Insider South Africa visited have been hit with increased demand for hygiene related stock.
We visited Dis-Chem, Clicks, MediRite, and Pick n Pay stores in Johannesburg and Cape Town and found in most cases empty shelves. Dozens of items from hand sanitiser to masks and disinfectant soap are gone. Some stores have given up completely and placed ‘out of stock’ stickers.
One clerk in Cape Town told Business Insider that she was swarmed by customers before she could even take product out of the box on Thursday morning when the news broke.
Another staff member told Business Insider that “these hand sanitisers would be the death of me” as people keep asking him where they can find them.
A third clerk said they had been told they were only allowed to distribute six hand sanitisers per person, to allow stock for all its customers.
At a store in Cresta Mall, in Johannesburg, we heard customers complaining that staff were hiding masks, much to the chagrin of its store manager.
Numbers were starting to look thin on toilet paper and canned food on Saturday morning.
There have also been nefarious price hikes, with one South African vender being caught-out attempting to sell a pack of 20 surgical masks for R2 000 on Takealot. Amid an outcry by Blogger Brent Lindeque, the online retailer pulled the item off its store, reported Eyewitness News.
The incident prompted pharmacy retailer Clicks to announce it would be holding all prices on hygiene products with immediate effect.
“We’ve seen an increase in sales of hygiene products, but we are keeping our prices unchanged,” says Rachel Wrigglesworth, Clicks Chief Commercial Officer. “We are working hard to meet the surge in demand and are putting in place additional measures to ensure that shelves are restocked as quickly as possible.”
Buying hand sanitiser is not a surefire method of preventing catching the virus. As your first port of call the World Health Organisation, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NICD recommend washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – that’s singing happy birthday twice.
Here is what we saw:
Dis-Chem in Cresta, Johannesburg:
As a box of hand santiser arrived it was grabbed by shoppers.
Masks and disinfectant were also sold out.
Clicks Cresta in Johannesburg:
MediRite Northcliff Corner in Johannesburg:
Pick n Pay in Cresta, Johannesburg:
No bulk buying, but stock was limited in the Pick n Pay we visited.
Clicks in Sea Point, Cape Town:
This Clicks in Sea Point was out of stock of hand santiser, santiser wipes and soap and masks. It still had plenty of toilet paper.
Dis-Chem in Willowbridge, Cape Town:
Shop assistants say people are buying in bulk.
They are out of masks and only getting in next week.
And out of hand sanitiser.
But, they’ve just restocked disinfectant.
Pick n Pay in Willowbridge, Cape Town:
Stock was starting to thin out.
And they were out of handwash.
More on office hygiene - here.
More on hand hygiene - here.
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