Supermarkets in regional Victorian towns have reportedly been swamped by bus loads of city-dwellers from Melbourne, who are stripping shelves and leaving locals empty-handed.
On Tuesday, there were numerous reports that grocery stores shelves in towns like Gisborne, Kyneton, Romsey, Seymour, Ararat, Woodend, Daylesford, amongst others, have been emptied by people travelling hours on buses from the city.
Ararat local Rhys told Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio that people have been arriving in town on buses.
“We had a supermarket attendant tell my partner yesterday that they had busload of people come in, get all their shopping, get back in the bus and then take off,” he told Neil Mitchell.
“It makes me angry but at the same time we’ve all got to eat.”
Kilmore resident Diane said it was also happening in her regional town.
“It’s happening all around here. It’s in Seymour, Wallan,” she said.
“Someone came into our bakery yesterday and took every loaf of bread!”
One Twitter user said she lives in a small town of 1500 people, 100 kilometres from Melbourne. On Tuesday, four tour buses, carrying around 200 people, arrived.
I live in a small town of 1500 people 100 kms from Melbourne. Yesterday 4 tour buses arrived from Melbourne and 200 people descended on our supermarket and stripped the shelves of everything. Not. One. Foodstuff. Left
— Jennifer Keast (@DrJenniferKeast) March 17, 2020
They’ve been raiding Seymour for 3 wks now. Staff at supermarkets reporting theyre seeing ppl they’ve never seen before. In country towns you know staff & they know the locals. Even had ppl as far away as Wodonga doing supermarket crawl down the freeway looking for toilet paper.
— 💧Denise Allen 🐨🐨🐨🐝🐝 (@denniallen) March 16, 2020
The reports have come after panic-buying and hoarding has emptied many city based super markets of essentials, leaving many vulnerable members of the community without basics.
Earlier this week, large supermarkets including Woolworths and Coles, introduced a designated daily shopping hour for the elderly and people with a disability in a bid to ensure they can purchase essentials.
It has been reported this special trading hour has been less than successful, with many people still missing out.
So disappointed to hear the trading hour for elderly & disabled has been less than a success this morning.
Meantime, can everyone PLEASE be respectful of the young, low paid, hardworking employees, stacking shelves & at checkouts. Taking out your rage on them is NOT the answer!
— Lisa Wilkinson (@Lisa_Wilkinson) March 17, 2020
At a press conference on Wednesday morning the Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a stern warning against panic-buying.
“Stop hoarding. Stop it. I can’t be anymore blunt. It’s got to be one of the most disappointing things I’ve seen during this crisis.”