panic buying ontario

People are worried about panic buying as Ontario verges on blanket lockdown

People panic buying in Ontario is a very real concern now that businesses and residents alike are reeling from this week's news that all regions of the province will be moving into a full pandemic lockdown on Boxing Day.

As was the case back in March, it seems that people have already started stocking up in anticipation of weeks of more severe health and safety restrictions, which include an end to in-person shopping and services at all non-essential businesses.

But, with essential stores like supermarkets and pharmacies still slated to be open regardless of lockdown measures, many are quite fairly wondering why people would rush to empty the shelves at their local grocer when they will obviously not be barred from buying necessities at any point.

People are expecting the usual culprits of toilet paper, paper towel and hand sanitizer to be the most sought-after items, while most residents already have enough masks and disinfecting supplies from the initial months of the health crisis.

And with less than four more days until the most stringent of government rules are implemented across the province, retail workers are awaiting the hordes.

Malls such as Vaughan Mills and Markville saw rushes of customers first after nearby Toronto and Peel went into a grey zone shutdown on Nov. 23, and then when it was announced that their home region of York was doing the same on Dec. 14.

Now that all of Ontario is closing down (and just before the holidays), including those regions that were in the more lax green, yellow, and orange zones, who knows what buying habits will be?

As has been the case numerous times this year, people are citing empty shelves at retailers already, despite the fact that officials have long discouraged the idiotic panic buying that residents continue to resort to whenever new restrictions are announced.

Perhaps everyone is preparing to catch the communicable disease and be fully quarantining in their house for two weeks — but even so, a few rolls of toilet paper and paper towel would surely suffice.

The general sentiment online at this point is a mix of imploring others not to amass products that we all need, and chastising them for doing so — two attitudes that are only likely to get stronger as we get closer to the actual lockdown date.

Thankfully for those in the north of the province, the blanket measures will only be in place for two weeks to start.

For the southern parts of Ontario, including those that have already been under the most extreme of restrictions for more than a month, the shutdown will be in place for a minimum of 28 days.

If you do venture out this week, you can bank on having to really hunt for or just do without certain items, and to inevitably wait in a lineup.

Lead photo by

Becky Robertson


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