Rush to stock up ‘just in case’

A long line waiting to enter a supermarket in Ayer Itam.

LONG human chains formed outside supermarkets even before they opened as Penangites rushed to snap up essentials after the announcement of a total lockdown from tomorrow.

Many people were happy that a full movement control order (MCO) had been ordered but said they needed to stock up on food “just in case”.

At a supermarket in Ayer Itam, the queue started as early as 8.30am.

When retired teacher B. Prema saw the queue though, she changed her mind about shopping as she did not want to be stuck in the line.

“I need to get a few bags of rice as I am down to my last one.

“I need to stock up as I have three dogs and I want to stay home for the next two weeks.

“As much as I want to get the rice today, this line is too long for me.

“I am uncomfortable about being in such a crowded place, ” said the 60-year-old.

At a popular supermarket in Bayan Lepas, people were seen queuing up in front of the supermarket as far as five shoplots away.

A couple, Mohd Ali Mat Yatim, 56, and Rozita Shiri, 62, did not expect such a huge crowd but still decided to join the line.

“It was a long line but we did not wait long. We were allowed in within 15 minutes.

“We usually do our grocery shopping at the end of every month.

“When the Government announced the lockdown, we decided to get extra foodstuff.

“There is just the two of us at home so the items we just bought today will be enough for a month, ” said Mohd Ali, a senior executive.

He said they planned to stay at home until the full MCO is over.

“I am aware that supermarkets can still open but we have decided to remain at home after this shopping trip until the lockdown is lifted, ” he said.

While conducting a spot check at the supermarket, Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Ministry Penang director Mohd Ridzuan

Ab Ghapar assured the public that there was no need for panic- buying as there was an ample supply of goods and supermarkets would remain open.

At Sunshine Wholesale Mart Sdn Bhd, the staff had to restock the shelves of many types of essential items a few times.

Its marketing communications manager Bryan Wong said that perishables, canned food, toilet rolls and liquid wash seemed to be what everyone wanted.

“We had to restock the shelves a few times but the crowd thinned by the afternoon.

“Peak hours are usually in the evenings but today, the morning rush was heavy.

“We had to control the crowd from coming in.

“We also constantly remind everyone of their two-hour limit for buying items. We even urged them to finish in half an hour to allow others their turn.

“We made announcements every half hour as a reminder, ” he said.

A nationwide full-scale MCO will take place from tomorrow to June 14.

All social and economic sectors will not be allowed to operate during this period except those providing essential services.

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