Which supermarkets have reintroduced rationing due to coronavirus?

·3-min read
RETRANSMITTED ADDING LOCATION Customers stock up on toilet roll at Costco in Leicester as the Chancellor is to unveil an emergency package aimed at protecting workers' jobs and wages as they face hardship in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Supermarkets are keen to avoid scenes such as this with shoppers stocking up on items such as toilet rolls, and causing a nationwide shortage (Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

As cases of coronavirus in the UK continue to rise, many supermarkets have reintroduced rationing in order to prevent the scenes of bare shelves and grappling customers seen at the start of the year.

Pasta, toilet roll, and many non-perishable items are now limited on numbers for customers in an effort to avoid shortages.

A rapid rise in cases of coronavirus over the past month has prompted fears of a second lockdown as Boris Johnson implemented tighter social restrictions to cope with the second wave of the virus.

And shelves have already been left bare following the PM’s address to the nation on Tuesday night, in which he outlined the new raft of restrictions which could last for up to six months.

So what can you buy, and where?

Empty supermarket shelves of what should be full of meat as people continue to stockpile food due to the Covid-19 outbreak on 22nd March 2020 in London, England, United Kingdom. Coronavirus or Covid-19 is a new respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans. While much or Europe has been placed into lockdown, the UK government has announced more stringent rules as part of their long term strategy, and in particular 'social distancing'. (photo by Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images)
Empty supermarket shelves were a common sight in March as shoppers panic-bought ahead of lockdown (Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images)


Morrisons has confirmed that it is rationing selected items, and has introduced buying limits on some of its most popular essentials, to ensure stock does not deplete rapidly.

Purchases will be restricted to three items per customer on products including toilet toll and disinfectant.

A spokesman for the store said: “We are introducing a limit on a small number of key products, such as toilet roll and disinfectant.

“Our stock levels of these products are good but we want to ensure that they are available for everyone.”


Tesco have also reintroduced a limit on the amount of some products that can be bought at one time. CEO Dave Lewis said panic buying is “unnecessary” and added that it only “creates a tension in the supply chain”.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

In stores, there is a three-items per customer limit for flour, dried pasta, toilet roll, baby wipes and anti-bacterial wipes, and there are additional limits for a small number of products online, such as rice and canned vegetables.

A spokeswoman for Tesco told Yahoo News UK: “We have good availability, with plenty of stock to go round, and we would encourage our customers to shop as normal. To ensure that everyone can keep buying what they need, we have introduced bulk-buy limits on a small number of products.

“To help our customers shop safely, we will also have colleagues at the entrances of our larger stores to remind customers about the safety measures we have in place, including the legal requirement to wear a face covering.”

Almost-empty shelves where pasta would normally be stocked are pictured inside a supermarket store in north London on March 31, 2020, as life in Britain continues during the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. - The novel coronavirus pandemic has so far claimed nearly 38,000 lives worldwide in a health crisis that is rapidly reorganising political power, hammering the global economy and the daily existence of some 3.6 billion people. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)
Products such as pasta are being limited by supermarkets in an effort to prevent panic-buying (Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)


A spokeswoman told Yahoo News UK: “We are holding good stock levels in all key product areas and we would like to reassure customers that there is no need to worry about buying more than they need.

“To ensure that customers can get what they need we've set a purchase limit of two packs on a small number of items including toilet rolls and hand sanitiser for online purchases.”


A spokewoman for Sainsburys told Yahoo News UK: “We don’t currently have any restrictions. Customers will be advised if this changes.”


Aldi has not announced new quantity limits but CEO of the chain Giles Hurley penned an open letter to customers this week urging them to “shop considerately” and reassuring them that Aldi stores remain “fully stocked”. A spokesman for the store was not available when contacted by Yahoo News UK.

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting