People Are Calling For Supermarkets To Open Early For The Elderly As Stockpiling Continues
With coronavirus continuing to spread globally, we've seen supermarket aisles stripped of essentials such as tinned foods, pasta, rice and toilet roll.
While stockpiling is a natural psychological reaction in such a scary and uncertain time, it also means that many old and vulnerable people are having to go without.
Across the world, wait-lists for online delivery sites are through the roof, and supermarkets are struggling to meet the sudden surge in demand.
And as more and more heartbreaking images emerge of the elderly browsing empty aisles, people are now calling for change to ensure that they don't miss out on doing their weekly shops.
One of the first supermarkets to suggest a solution was Iceland in Northern Ireland, which announced it would be opening its doors exclusively for the elderly so that they could do their shopping in peace.
The supermarket - based in the Kennedy Centre, West Belfast - announced it would let older customers inside from 8-9am, before everyone else, starting on Tuesday.
It said in a statement: "Iceland Foods will be opening their store between 8-9am for the elderly commencing Tuesday 17th March.
"Could the wider public please respect this hour, and understand that this time is allocated for elderly people only.
"Iceland appeal to peoples better nature when realising who needs priority."
Meanwhile, Aldi has restricted customers from buying more than four any given item, while Tesco shoppers have been asked not to buy more than five of certain essential goods, such as anti-bacterial gels, dry pasta, UHT milk and a selection of tinned vegetables.
It comes after people have been sharing pleas online to help the elderly as food and home supplies shortages continue.
Posing a picture of an old man in the empty aisles, one person wrote recently: "Take a long hard look at this picture. Think about your actions and the affect they have on others. You selfish w**nkers. STOP".
Tagging all of the UK's supermarkets in a tweet, one person wrote: "I commend the brave initiative of @IcelandFoods in the UK to reserve an hour for old people to shop among themselves.
"I urge all stores to do the same so that the elderly don't run the risk of catching corona virus from someone who has the virus but is strong enough to fight it."
While another added: "How about asking local grocery stores to have special hours, maybe a couple hours, a couple days a week, so vulnerable populations who are self-isolating, like old/ill people can shop w/o mingling?"
A third posed a similar suggestion, adding: "Supermarkets around the world should let people with young children and old people shop for the first hour of opening.
"I see some ladies looking for nappies but aisles are empty and it's crazy with toilet paper disappears in few mins".
While a fourth rallied: "Supermarkets should open 1 day a week for old and disabled people only this leaves 6 days for everyone else. Please retweet this idea."
Food retailers also took to social media at the weekend to issue their own statements on stockpiling, and urge people to shop responsibly.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents all the UK's biggest supermarkets, said that they had all pulled together to write to their customers.
In an open letter, Waitrose, M&S, Iceland, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, Co-op, Aldi, Lidl, Ocado and Costcutter, wrote: "We understand your concerns but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without.
"There is enough for everyone if we all work together."
Here's hoping more supermarkets follow suit and help those in need.
Featured Image Credit: PA