Coronavirus: FairPrice sets purchasing limits on essential items

FairPrice's notice on purchase limits on essential items. (PHOTO: Facebook)

SINGAPORE — FairPrice has on Sunday (9 February) limited the number of essential items customers can buy, in order for more customers to have access to high demand items.

The supermarket chain put up notices across its outlets informing its customers of the following purchase limits:

  • Paper products (toilet paper, facial tissues, kitchen towels): four packs per customers

  • Rice: two bags per customer

  • Instant noodles: Four pillow packs per customer

  • Vegetables: $50 per customer

FairPrice’s move comes after Singapore residents were seen bulk-buying such essentials after the Singapore government raised its disease outbreak response system condition on the current novel coronavirus outbreak from yellow to orange on Friday.

In its notice, FairPrice insisted that its supply of daily essentials remain available despite the sudden surge in demand. Nonetheless, it urged customers to “buy only what they need and not stockpile”.

To let supply line catch up on deliveries

Its chief executive officer Seah Kian Peng said in a Facebook post on Sunday that the limits are to allow its supply line to catch up on its deliveries to its stores.

“We had doubled our runs but it is still not enough as the volume of products handled over the last two days are more the peak days of Chinese New Year,” he said in the post.

“My supply chain and whole team are working non stop to try to catch up on deliveries to all our stores... The limits are imposed not because we do not have enough stocks.”

Seah added that he has been assessing the outlets on Sunday, and the buying is calmer and “so too everyone”.

“We have also called up more people to help us replenish the stocks as soon as they arrive at the stores. And from all counts, the situation today is looking like a normal busy Sunday and not like what it was the last two days,” he said.

Demand surged by as much as 5 times

The supermarket chain had announced on Saturday that it has increased the volume of daily essentials being sent to its outlets by three times, while delivery trips have also been doubled, after demand surged by as much as five times more than the week before.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing has also urged Singaporeans not to hoard items unnecessarily as it will cause “undue panic”. 

“I assure all Singaporeans that there is no need to rush for essential supplies like rice or instant noodles. Our supply lines for these essentials are intact and there is no risk of us running a shortage of essential food or household items,” he added in a Facebook post on Friday.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also urged the country to “take courage and see through this stressful time together”, in a televised speech on the coronavirus situation on Saturday.

“We all want to protect ourselves and our families from what is still a new and unknown disease. But fear can do more harm than the virus itself,” he said.

“It can make us panic, or do things which make matters worse, like circulating rumours online, hoarding face masks or food, or blaming particular groups for the outbreak.

“Let us stay united and resolute in this new coronavirus outbreak. Take sensible precautions, help one another, stay calm, and carry on with our lives.”

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