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If you never thought you’d see the day when, in wealthy countries like the United Kingdom and the United States there would be rationing of goods and products, welcome to a new era: The era of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
Because the vast majority of Westerners live very comfortable lives and in relative peace, they never think more than a few days or a week at most ahead. Why bother when all you have to do is bounce down the street to the nearest supermarket or big box store and pick up whatever you need, 24/7/365?
But as we have tried to educate readers now for years, it’s the situations and scenarios you don’t see coming that you must prepare for — such as the day when you can’t simply be-bop down the road a few miles and scarf up whatever food, supplies and provisions you need on any given day.
That day has arrived in many parts of the U.K. and U.S., and it’s thanks to the continued spread of a virus that originated in China but has since gone global.
As noted by CNNBusiness, panic buying of things like sanitizers, canned foods and even toilet paper has forced stores to limit purchases and ration what they have to offer customers because the virus’ widespread negative impact on China, the world’s supply hub, has led to a supply chain disruption that is causing delays in getting products to market.
In fact, the site noted, in some places toilet paper is now being guarded by armed security:
This is the new reality for some retailers that are having to take drastic action to limit the number of toilet paper rolls, face masks and hand sanitizer bottles each person can buy as customers stockpile goods over fears of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
— In Australia, supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles have begun to limit purchases of toilet paper to four packs per person. Also, Costco Australia is limiting buys of TP.
— In the U.K., meanwhile, Boots “is limiting the purchase of hand sanitizer to two bottles per customer, and UK grocer Ocado has advised customers to place orders further in advance in the wake of ‘exceptionally high demand,’” CNNBusiness reported.
— In the U.S., Kroger is limiting individual purchases of “sanitation, cold and flu-related products,” while Home Depot is listing the number of face masks made in stores and online.
And forget emergency food suppliers. Most are reporting massive surges in sales and, thus, shipping delays of weeks.
“We’re doing approximately our average monthly orders in a day,” James Blake, chief of Emergency Food Storage U.K., the largest emergency food supplier in Europe, told CNNBusiness. “Our tins have a 25-year shelf life so people are really thinking about stocking up.”
The Sun, a U.K. publication, published a story on the shortages featuring pictures of empty store shelves at chains like Tesco.
“The rations came into force to ensure customers are able to buy what they need, with the change starting in stores” last week, the site reported.
Other chains are yet to experience shortages, but they are having difficulties in delivering ordered goods due to a crush of business and a shortage of workers.
In the U.S., the surge in sales of these items has also led to price hikes. CNBC reported March 3:
Demand for hand sanitizer is surging around the globe as the new coronavirus spreads, prompting retailers to ration supplies and online vendors to hike prices.
As the virus spreads, you probably shouldn’t expect the situation with shortages and rationing to disappear anytime soon. That’s because, as Fox News’ Tucker Carlson noted late last week, China controls nearly all of the manufacturing for these products — as well as those needed by American healthcare workers and hospitals.
Tagged Under: armed guards, armed security, box stores, China, Collapse, food supply, grocery stores, hand sanitizer, rationing, retailers, scarcity, Shortages, SHTF, supermarkets, supply chain, toilet paper, UK, United States
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