Shelves emptied in Bunnings frenzy
Shoppers have emptied Bunnings shelves of paint, home improvement and garden items as they head into a DIY virus lockdown.
The hardware giant, which will stay open during the lockdown on "government advice", was flooded with buyers at the weekend.
As the reality of staying at home sunk in, customers poured in, snapping up products to get in some renovating and restoring while working from home during the coronavirus shutdown.
Bunnings managing director Mike Schneider told news.com.au the store was hearing from customers that "having projects to do … around the home is providing a useful physical and mental distraction to the challenges of extended periods of time at home".
Some of the usually well-stocked shelves in the gardening section of Bunnings Alexandria had been depleted on Saturday, with food bearing plants like strawberries and vegetables vanishing.
"We are working with our suppliers to increase supply and replenish our seedling stocks as soon as they become available," Bunnings national plants buyer Alex Newman told news.com.au.
People could be seen stacking up plants and bag after bag of soil and wheeling them out to the carpark.
Also going fast were face masks used by home handypersons or tradies when doing jobs like sanding or paint stripping.
It is unclear if these masks were being bought for virus protection.
Mr Schneider said Bunnings "understands the importance that a reliable supply of key products is to both DIY and trade customers who are supporting local communities, particularly with emergency repairs and maintenance".
Bunnings will stay open during the widespread lockdown, and has posted a special coronavirus message on its website about safety and health of customers and staff.
It said stores would "look a little different as we take additional precautions".
"In times such as these we believe it is our role and responsibility to do our best to ensure we can provide access to the products people need," the website states.
"Over the past few weeks we have taken a range of precautionary measures across our stores."
These included "increased cleaning and sanitisation" and rapid response training for any health safety emergency.
Bunnings has told staff with "flu like symptoms" to stop coming to work and said it had "introduced additional benefits for team members to ensure none of (them) are disadvantaged financially through this process".
Bunnings said its most viewed online DIY projects between March 16 and today were "10 fast growing plants for privacy", "how much paint do I need", "brighten your place with an instant hedge", "how to achieve patio perfection" and how to start a vegetable garden".
Bunnings management urged customers to check individual stores for opening hours.
Originally published as Shelves emptied in Bunnings frenzy