Supermarkets dismiss empty shelves as ‘overbuying’
TASMANIA'S supplies of essential goods are secure and there is no need for panic buying, Premier Peter Gutwein said.
Victoria yesterday recorded 725 new cases of coronavirus and 15 deaths - the worst result for that state since the pandemic began and stage four restrictions are in force from midnight Wednesday.
Most of the Tasmania's imported goods arrive via Victorian air and sea ports, but Mr Gutwein said planning was in place to ensure there was no disruption to supply lines.
He urged Tasmanians not to allow news reports of the deteriorating situation in Victoria to make them anxious about things here.
"Watching what's occurring on the news will be unsettling for many Tasmanians," he said.
"It is a difficult fight that Victoria is having at the moment and I want reassure Tasmanians that we will continue take sensible steps in terms of how we manage the impact over here, and importantly we are a safe place.
"Importantly, in terms of supply lines, in terms of freight, we've been assured that those supply lines will be kept open.
"There is no need to race to the shops to stock up. There is no need to race to the shops and buy extra supplies. That is just simply not required. It's not necessary."
The Mercury visited several major supermarkets across the state's South yesterday, with sufficient stock levels seen at Howrah and Sandy Bay stores.
Elsewhere, A Kingston supermarket's paper towel and toilet paper stocks were near-empty, while rice, flour and oats were running low.
A notice was seen advising customers there to limit their toilet paper purchases to one pack.
A Huonville grocery store was low on bottled water, fruit juice, milk, meat, tomatoes, tinned fruit.
A Coles spokeswoman said buying patterns suggested customers were not "overbuying" but were purchasing "a seven-day shop".
The Premier said it was a good time for Tasmanians to buy local produce and support local businesses.
And he asked Tasmanians to continue to observe the restrictions which remain in place.
"Ensure that you have good personal hygiene, that you socially distance. Importantly, test if you are and very importantly - and a lesson Victoria has learned - do not go to work if you are unwell."
Director of Public Health Mark Veitch said the risk posed by the small number of essential workers still entering the state needed to be kept in perspective.
"Even though there were 700 cases in Victoria - that means roughly one in 10,000 people in Victoria was diagnosed with coronavirus yesterday," he said.
"The chance of one of those 10,000 people being one of the two or three people coming to Tasmania is very small, but all the same we've got measures in place that place that restrict their activities and the testing that is in addition to that restriction provides an additional level of reassurance that they're not posing any threat to Tasmania.
Tasmania has had 227 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began, although no active cases remain. There has been 13 deaths.
There were 700 tests for the virus carried out yesterday, taking the state total to more than 70,000.
Originally published as Supermarkets dismiss empty shelves as 'overbuying'