You can buy even fewer packs of toilet paper from FairPrice now – here’s what else the supermarket is restricting

A FairPrice Finest outlet with empty shelves after the declaration of the Dorscon orange alert on February 7, 2020.
The Straits Times

Know someone who recently bought more than enough toilet paper to last the next six months? Even if you don’t, you must have at least seen photos of empty shelves and overflowing shopping carts floating around on social media in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Panic buying all across the world in the last couple of months has prompted supermarket chains in various countries to implement new rules that restrict the way shoppers conduct grocery runs. Singapore is of course no exception.

NTUC FairPrice on Friday (Mar 27) announced that it would be enforcing additional restrictions to how much consumers can purchase at it stores. This comes just 10 days after FairPrice last announced purchase limits in response to panic buying ignited by Malaysia’s sudden shutting of borders.

Read also: Malaysia is coming up with even stricter movement restrictions in its fight against the coronavirus

In addition to the previous six categories of grocery items, the latest measure sees three more categories – frozen poultry, canned food and cooking oil – also restricted.

Under the new rules, consumers’ paper purchases will also be restricted to two packs each, down from four previously.

Here are the new purchase limits, starting from 7am on March 27:

  • Paper products: 2 packs (toilet paper, facial tissues, kitchen towels)
  • Instant noodles/ pasta: 2 packs
  • Rice: 10 kilograms
  • Vegetables: S$30 per customer
  • Fresh, frozen and processed poultry: S$30 per customer
  • Eggs: 3 packs of 10 or 1 tray of 30 per customer
  • Canned products: 6 cans (choice of meat, fish or vegetables)
  • Cooking oil: 5 litres

According to the supermarket chain, these new purchase limits are set “slightly higher than what a typical shopper purchases and is sufficient to meet the daily grocery needs of an average family in Singapore”.

Daily essentials also remain available as there are sufficient stockpiles of food while supply lines remain largely intact, it added.

Such measures, FairPrice said, were needed to discourage over-buying and to deter resellers.

Read also: A human behavior expert explains 4 psychological reasons why people are panic buying items in bulk during the coronavirus pandemic

Mr Seah Kian Peng, FairPrice Group CEO, revealed in a statement that the company had seen an increase in customer traffic and purchasing volume in the past few days, but added that these were still within a “reasonable level”.

Earlier this week, FairPrice also said it was reserving the first hour of its operations every Monday for Pioneer Generation card holders, people with disabilities and pregnant women. During this “priority hour”, no other customers will be allowed in FairPrice stores.

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