FLOCK-DOWN! Moment panic-buyers forget social distancing – while Costco shoppers queue for 1,300ft


Social distancing was completely forgotten as shoppers battled over bargains in the chiller aisle as panic-buying plunged to new lows.

The extraordinary scenes showed Tesco customers wrestling near the shelves where discounted items were laid out at the end of the day.

Despite the fact food stores will be allowed to stay open during the UK’s second national lockdown, there have been pockets of panic-buying incidents throughout the country.

Shoppers have also turned to bulk-buy wholesalers like Costco to be able to stock up for the near month-long shutdown. 

Yesterday a 1,300ft-long queue could be seen at the Lakeside branch as families queued up to get inside.

The shoppers were keen to grab a deal

A group of shoppers break social distancing rules to battle it out for a bargain in the reduced section of a Tesco branch

Hundreds queue outside Costco at Lakeside a drone photograph showed yesterday as lines stretched 1,300 feet in length

Hundreds queue outside Costco at Lakeside a drone photograph showed yesterday as lines stretched 1,300 feet in length

Tesco’s outbreak of retail rage – which was posted online with location unknown – saw thrifty shoppers hell-bent on grabbing a bargain physically shove each other out of the way in the reduced aisle. 

At one point, a man can be seen reaching out across the crowd of people to swipe a load of goodies off the top shelf, while a number of other shoppers grab handfuls of items from the various other shelves.

Twitter users have reported seeing similar scenes, with one adding: “Last week I had some old lady shoulder barge me to get to the reduced section even though I hadn’t even stopped to look at anything.

“Five mins later I see her buying expensive bottles of wine.”

A second person said: “They do that all the time. Did it well before Covid as well.”

A third user joked: “I see nothing wrong in this video!”

People concerned about being able to buy Christmas presents were seen, with one man buying a giant teddy from Costco

People concerned about being able to buy Christmas presents were seen, with one man buying a giant teddy from Costco

Others used bulk-buy wholesaler Costco to stock up on items, including cereal, milkshake and toilet and kitchen rolls

Others used bulk-buy wholesaler Costco to stock up on items, including cereal, milkshake and toilet and kitchen rolls

Rationing starts in Tesco 

Supermarkets are rationing their goods again as customers panic buy before lockdown on Thursday.

Tesco supermarket in Ely, Cambs, has put limits on essential goods, such as toilet rolls, flour and eggs, as shoppers panic buy before lockdown begins.

Supermarkets have been urging people not to stockpile items, but customers appear to be taking no notice and are stocking up on non-essential items and cupboard goods, just as they did back in March before the first national lockdown.

Today (Mon) the shelves were bare in aisles at Asda in Cambridge and Tesco in Ely in Cambridgeshire.

Home delivery slots are also getting booked up, with many customers struggling to get slots and taking to Twitter to complain.

Amsilks tweeted: ‘It’s already started * cannot get an online shopping slot at tesco in the next three weeks! Great everyone * As a teacher I’ll be at work after Thursday just like I have been since the first lockdown!’

Chris added: ‘Tesco we have delivery saver and a newborn and can’t get a delivery slot for days * is there anyway you can help us out?’

Tesco’s reduced section has long been popular among thrifty shoppers and often provides a treasure trove of goodies including discounted meats, cheeses, and ready-meals as well as an array of pastries.

It emerged the day after supermarkets started rationing their products again after panic-buying hordes descended on food shops across the country today ahead of the UK’s second national lockdown on Thursday.  

A Tesco supermarket in Ely, Cambridgeshire, put limits on essential goods such as toilet rolls, flour and eggs. 

Supermarkets have been urging people not to stockpile items, but customers appear to be taking no notice and are buying large amount of non-essential items and cupboard goods, just as they did back in March before the first national lockdown.

Yesterday the shelves were bare in aisles at Asda in Cambridge and Tesco in Ely in Cambridgeshire.

Home delivery slots are also getting booked up, with many customers struggling to get slots and taking to Twitter to complain.  

Hundreds of customers had lined up to get into stores, including Sainsbury’s and wholesalers Costco, ahead of the shutdown coming in on Thursday.

Primark – which will have to close under lockdown – also saw queues outside its flagship Oxford Street store.

A retail worker at fashion chain Bershka’s  Oxford Street store told MailOnline: ‘It has been really busy. It was half term as well so I don’t think it’s all been due to the lockdown.

‘But this weekend has been busier.’ 

Meanwhile, staff in a Zara shop just yards down the road said it has been ‘much more busy’ in recent days as the Government’s announcement sent people’s Christmas shopping plans into chaos. 

Empty toilet paper shelves in Asda in Cambridge on Monday afternoon after shoppers picked them clean of supplies

Empty toilet paper shelves in Asda in Cambridge on Monday afternoon after shoppers picked them clean of supplies

Empty flour shelves in Asda in Cambridge on Monday afternoon showed that some shoppers had started panic buying

Empty flour shelves in Asda in Cambridge on Monday afternoon showed that some shoppers had started panic buying

What are the rules for shops from Thursday? 

Shops that can stay open:

  • Food shops
  • Supermarkets 
  • Garden centres 
  • Retailers providing essential goods and services 

Shops that must shut (including but not limited to): 

  • Clothing
  • Electronics stores 
  • Vehicle showrooms 
  • Travel agents 
  • Betting shops
  • Auction houses
  • Tailors 
  • Car washes 
  • Tobacco and vape shops  

And those hoping to stay at home were also dealt a blow as delivery slots became booked up for the entire month. 

It comes after the Covid Quad committee, which has taken all the key strategic decisions during the pandemic, met in the Cabinet Office on Friday.

They came together for the crunch talks after doomsday predictions from the Government’s SAGE committee of scientific advisers.

Mr Johnson was forced to unveil the new lockdown  at a hurriedly-arranged press conference yesterday after plans from the meeting leaked.

The measures come into force from midnight on Thursday morning until December 2.

They close all but essential shops, restaurants, pubs, hairdressers and leisure centres.

The furlough scheme that pays workers 80% of their wages will be extended for a month, and travel outside the UK will be allowed only for ‘work’. 

Mr Johnson said it was the the only way to avert bleak Sage predictions of 85,000 deaths this winter.

He warned it that happened it would force doctors to choose between saving Covid sufferers and those with other illnesses. 

He said: ‘No responsible PM can ignore the message of those figures. We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature.’

A UK Government spokesperson said: ‘As the Prime Minister said on Saturday, essential shops will remain open, so there is no need to stock up. Our message to everyone is that people should be considerate in the way they shop.

‘The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain which held up well in the spring, and will do so again.

‘We continue to work closely with food retailers and the food industry as we have done throughout the response to the coronavirus pandemic. They report no overall supply issues.’

Key points in COVID lockdown Mark 2 

  • People can only leave their homes for specific reasons, such as to do essential shopping, for outdoor exercise, and for work if they are unable to work from home.
  • Non-essential shops will be told to shut
  • Restaurants and bars will be told to close unless they can operate a takeaway service. 
  • Travel abroad is only permitted for ‘essential’ reasons such as work, people can still return to the UK from abroad. 
  • Leisure centres, gyms, sporting venues, hairdressers and beauty parlours will have to close, although professional sport will continue. 
  • Key businesses that cannot operate remotely – such as construction – should carry on as before.
  • Places of worship can stay open for private prayer. Funerals are limited to close family only.  
  • The furlough scheme will be extended during the period of the lockdown 
  • Exercise is permitted with no limits on frequency, but organised sports – including outdoor activities such as golf – will not be permitted. 

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