Toilet paper restrictions are back at all Woolworths and Coles stores, following a surge in demand and a spike in COVID-19 cases in Victoria

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
  • Woolworths and Coles have reinstated toilet paper restrictions across Australia.
  • It comes after Woolworths and Coles reintroduced broader purchase restrictions in Victoria.
  • The announcement comes following a spike in COVID-19 infections in the state.
  • Woolworths said it said it experienced “significantly elevated demand” in the last 24 hours.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Toilet paper restrictions are back at Woolworths and Coles after demand started to rise once again.

Woolworths has placed a two pack limit on toilet paper and paper towels in all its stores Australia-wide as a precautionary step as demand starts creeping up in parts of the country. Coles on the other hand, has a one-pack limit on both toilet paper and paper towels.

It comes after the supermarkerts reintroduced purchase restrictions in Victoria after the number of coronavirus cases in the state spiked.

Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Claire Peters said in a statement the company started seeing high demand for toilet paper outside of Victoria in the last 24 hours.

“While the demand is not at the same level as Victoria, we’re taking preventative action now to get ahead of any excessive buying this weekend and help maintain social distancing in our stores,” she said.

“We have ordered more than 650,000 additional packs of toilet roll into our network, which is an increase of more than 30 percent on our usual volumes.”

Woolworths said on Wednesday it was reinstating the 2-item limits on toilet paper, hand sanitiser, paper towels, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, long-life milk, eggs and rice in Victoria after experiencing high demand. The restrictions will also apply online.

It comes just over a week after Woolworths announced all purchase restrictions would be lifted.

Earlier this week, the supermarket said in a statement it had seen “significantly elevated demand” in parts of Melbourne.

It came after Victoria reported 20 new coronavirus cases and one death on Wednesday – the eighth consecutive day that the state reported double-digit cases. And overnight, the state recorded 30 new cases.

“We understand many Victorians are anxious about the recent community outbreak, but they can be assured our stores will remain open with plenty of stock in our warehouses to replenish our shelves,” Peters said.

“While we have healthy stock levels to draw on, we’re taking this precautionary step to help prevent excessive buying and support appropriate social distancing in our Victorian stores.”

Peters added that Woolies has more than enough products if everyone buys what they need during their weekly shop.

“We’ll closely monitor demand across Victoria in the coming days and look to wind back the limits as soon as we can,” Peters said.

Coles has also reintroduced restrictions in Victoria

Coles also placed purchase limits at all its Victorian stores, as well as its stores in Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin in New South Wales, which are stocked from Victorian distribution centres.

There is a one-item limit on toilet paper and paper towels, and a two-item limit on hand sanitiser, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, UHT milk, rice and eggs.

“Following discussion with the Federal and Victorian governments as well as other retailers, Coles is implementing temporary purchase limits for our Victorian supermarkets to help us manage demand for key staple items,” Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said in a statement.

“We ask that customers continue to shop normally so that everyone can have access to the food and groceries they need.”

At Coles stores in Victoria, customers will also be reminded to use hand sanitiser and use disinfectant to wipe their trolleys before they enter the store.


  • Woolies is increasing online delivery capacity in Victoria, as demand rises 40% amid a COVID-19 case spike