Despite president Cyril Ramaphosa and various other state leaders making pleas to the public to refrain from stockpiling and panic buying, some shoppers in the region seem to have missed the message. During the ministerial briefing on Tuesday, both agricultural minister Thokozile Didiza and trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel stressed that both the food and medicinal supply chain will not be broken during the lockdown and people can go shopping.
Scenes in Plettenberg Bay shops on Tuesday reminded KPH Plett journalist Yolande
Stander of an apocalypse movie as shoppers rushed to supermarkets to stock up on necessities for the three-week lockdown announced on Monday. A large group of residents queued in front of Checkers at the Plettenberg Mall to get in at 08:00 when doors open reminiscent of a Black Friday fiasco.
Shelves were eerily empty as merchandisers tried to restock. Some of the items that were in short supply were fresh chicken, flour, pasta and toilet paper. Some shoppers were seen buying large quantities of these items.
It was the same at Pick n Pay Market Square and Woolworths, where queues were regulated when the crowds became too large for staff to handle.
At Clicks, some shelves were also empty, most notably multivitamins and immune boosters.
Most shoppers were seen wearing masks or had scarves wrapped around their faces, some wore gloves, and security officers stopped all customers before they entered to dose their hands with sanitisers.
According to Knysna-based KPH journalist
Blake Linder, in contrast to the "apocalyptic craze" in Plettenberg Bay, there was a slightly eerie sense of normalcy that reigned in the town's shops and streets.
It looked like business as usual in the shops, where, bar a few more empty shelves than usual, it felt like run-of-the-mill month-end shopping. There were very few filled-to-thebrim trolleys, and while some queues in stores like Pick n Pay and SuperSpar extended into the aisles, other stores like Checkers weren't unusually busy.
A few stores, such as Woolworths, restricted the flow of customers into the store, while all shops – even garage convenience stores – sanitised shoppers' hands as they entered the door. Compared to last week when, walking through town with a face mask attracted much attention and space, on Tuesday this week people appeared to have accepted this as the norm for the next few weeks and possibly months.
From KPH Knysna journalist Tembile Sgqolana's perspective, things seemed quiet in the townships on Tuesday as the local spaza shops continued with their daily routine. In some shops in the township there were less than five people, while the taverns on the other hand were packed with people buying alcohol. There did not seem to be a panic about buying groceries, instead people enjoyed their liquor before the taverns and the shebeens closed at 18:00. There were a few people who got out of the taxis with shopping bags, but the majority were relaxing, enjoying their free time. Some local shop owners also donned masks and gloves, and in one of the shops in White City, the owner disinfected people's hands and money with a spray.