Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 June 2020

Coronavirus: shoppers urged not to 'panic buy' as supermarkets remain open

Supermarket chains in UAE have assured customers they remain well stocked

Residents shop for goods at the Carrefour supermarket inside Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
Residents shop for goods at the Carrefour supermarket inside Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

UAE supermarkets have assured shoppers they remain open for business and insist there is no need to panic buy.

On Monday, authorities ordered all malls and markets to close within 48 hours to try to combat the coronvirus pandemic.

But they exempted shops including supermarkets and pharmacies that sell essential goods.

V Nandakumar, spokesman at Lulu Group, which runs Lulu Hypermarkets, said its 12 branches would remain open from 8am to midnight.

Other major retailers in the UAE also insisted that food stocks were in strong supply.

"There will not be any changes in operation timings as per the latest announcement from the authorities," Mr Nandakumar said.

Lulu has reassured residents they are operating normal working hours and are urging against panic buying. Courtesy: Lulu
Lulu has reassured residents they are operating normal working hours and are urging against panic buying. Courtesy: Lulu

"Both Lulu hypermarkets and the warehouses across the UAE are very well stocked and there is absolutely no need for any anxiety or panic buying."

Majid Al Futtaim said its 80 Carrefour supermarkets and 29 hypermarkets would remain open.

The entrance to malls will stay open so shoppers can access the supermarket, clinics and pharmacies. All other retail outlets will be closed.

“While shopping malls are closing in the UAE, all our stores remain open and fully stocked for customers, operating at our regular times," said Philippe Peguilhan, manager of Carrefour UAE.

“We encourage all our valued customers to shop responsibly and be mindful of others.

"We have full confidence in our stock and supply chain, and we continue to monitor stock levels to ensure we adequately cater to customer needs.”

Carrefour is adding additional measures in its shops to ensure social distancing.

“This includes placing acrylic glass screens at checkout counters to reduce contact, and instructional signs to guide customers on the best social-distancing practices," Mr Peguilhan said.

The management of Nesto supermarkets issued a notice to customers online, reassuring people that they would remain open and have regular working hours.

“There is no need for panic buying," the company said. "We have enough supplies to meet the demands.

"Food retailers and pharmacies are exempted from government restrictions. We will be at your service always."

Nesto supermarket's management issued a notice online to reassure shoppers they will remain open. Courtesy: Nesto 
Nesto supermarket's management issued a notice online to reassure shoppers they will remain open. Courtesy: Nesto 

Doctors are also warning against bulk-buying, saying it could greatly harm more vulnerable residents.

“What about all of the blue-collar workers that make the greatest part of our demographics in this nation, who already have poor nutrition?" said Dr Sadaf Ahmed, a general practitioner in Dubai.

“When you are bulk-buying vegetables, they actually come in to the grocery store at the end of the working day and all that’s left for them is just about nothing. It’s very unfair.”

Dr Ahmed urged residents to stock up for the week only.

Updated: March 24, 2020 12:29 AM

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