Victorians in a panic to cover up before deadline.
A burst of face mask panic buying saw many Victorians spending their Sunday in long queues before mask-wearing becomes compulsory in the state on Wednesday.
The Victorian government is imposing mandatory face covering for all people in Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, with a fine of $200 facing those who refuse.
Premier Daniel Andrews said “people will be wearing masks for a long time into the future”, noting no particular type of face covering was mandated and “even a scarf will do”.
However, people have opted to turn to their local pharmacies to buy a clinical grade mask, causing a blowout in demand and a return to panic buying. Taking to social media to document the rush, one user said he saw “people climbing over each other” to get to the masks.
“I was just in Chemist Warehouse, and they are selling small boxes of disposable masks for $50,” the tweet reads.
“People climbing over each other getting as many as they can carry. Not good.”
Another said he watched on as staff members from another branch of Chemist Warehouse tried to stop a man from buying 800 masks. “Just watched a guy at Chemist Warehouse buy 16 x 50 pack of masks (800 masks!) because ‘I’ll double my money in a week!’,” he said.
“When the staff tried to tell him he couldn’t he started screaming at them and the security guard. They just sold them to him to get him out of the shop.”
One user appeared clearly concerned the only place they could purchase a mask was where a worker from the distribution centre had tested positive for COVID-19.
“The irony isn’t lost on me that the only place I can find that sells masks is Chemist Warehouse, who have a coronavirus outbreak at their distribution warehouse but haven’t closed for a deep clean …” they tweeted.