Cyprus supermarkets urge consumers not to stockpile

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Following Cyprus’ first two coronavirus cases, consumers have taken to stockpiling personal hygiene and non-perishable food items, as supermarkets handle twice the traffic they would normally see.

Although nowhere near the levels of panic buying reported in Italy and other coronavirus hit countries, the Cyprus Supermarket Association said many retailers have seen a significant increase in shoppers coming through their doors.

The general director of the Cyprus Supermarket Association, Andreas Hadjiadamou told the Financial Mirror that a large number of supermarkets have seen double the numbers of consumers these past few days, compared to this time last year.

“We noticed that people have already started stocking up on specific products such as hand sanitizers and other personal hygiene products, and non-perishable goods such as flour, pasta, rice, water, long-life milk since Monday night when Cyprus announced it had its first coronavirus cases.”

“However, there is no panic yet and I don’t think there will be in the next days.”

Hadjiadamou admitted, however, that the coronavirus situation in Cyprus is still in the initial stages “and there is no way to predict how people will react should the outbreak turn out to be more serious”.

He called on the public to stay calm, reassuring there is no risk of shortages at supermarkets, arguing that outlets are well stocked, and consumers should not be worried that items will run out.

Hadjiadamou said businesses were already prepared long before the outbreak on Monday and despite people already stockpiling on certain products, the situation was “completely manageable”.

“I want to reassure shoppers that we will not have any shortages, of items like toilet paper, we are fully stocked and prepared to face the predictable higher demand for products.”

Asked about measures supermarkets have taken to protect staff, Hadjiadamou said that they are following instructions of the health services and placed dispensable hand sanitisers in aisles and at cashier stations.

“We have informed staff in supermarkets about the necessary precautions to take long before the announcement regarding the two cases of coronavirus in Cyprus. We were fully prepared for it.”

Hadjiadamou added that supermarkets have also drawn up contingency plans in the case that a large number of employees may need to stay at home.

“We have drawn up plans to deal with such a scenario, and I would like to reassure shoppers that supermarkets will not close.”