Busier than normal in the country’s supermarkets

With the prospect of additional, stricter measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus on the cards and the half term holidays getting under way it has been a much busier Friday than normal in the country’s supermarkets. However, the retail sector assures us that there is no need to panic buy as there are plentiful supplies of toilet paper, pasta, rice and all the thousands of other goods that are to be found in Belgian supermarkets.

The retailers’ federation Comeos’ Head of Communication Hans Cardyn told VRT News that “People are buying more. It is also the start of half term and there is 1 November (All Saints’ Day) and sales on in areas near to the French border are noticeably higher”. In France there is already a lockdown in force. Many Belgians from areas close to the French border often do at least some of their shopping in French hypermarkets, where prices are generally lower than in supermarkets and shops here in Belgium.  

As just prior to and during the early weeks of the spring lockdown products such as flour, pasta and toilet paper are selling like hot cakes.

However, Mr Cardyn assures us that the retailers are well prepared, and suppliers are plentiful. The fact that there are queues outside some supermarkets is due to strict measures that are already in force limiting the number of people allowed to enter shops.

The supermarket chain Delhaize confirms that it is a busy day in its stores. Delhaize’s spokesman Roel Dekelver told VRT News “We have seen a peak today, it is very busy, much busier than on a normal Friday”. Mr Dekelver points to the rumours about possible stricter measures to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, he adds that there is absolutely no need to panic buy.

"We call on people not to stockpile. It is not necessary. There is enough”.

Mr Dekelver added that people should “show solidarity”. “Give other people the chance to purchase things”.

The brisk business on Friday means that shelf stackers are working flat out to keep the shelves full at many of the country’s supermarket. 

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