Desperate times, desperate measures. The latest update on the development of COVID-19 in Ontario has reported another increase in cases, and still some people who are assuming the worst can't seem to stop panic buying. Premier Doug Ford spoke to reporters on Wednesday, March 18, when he suggested he could look to limit the number of shoppers who are allowed in provincial grocery stores at any given time.
While Ford spoke to reporters to deliver Ontario's update, he assured the public once again that stores are not facing a shortage and toilet paper providers in the province are stocked up.
And, in an apparent bid to curb this panic-buying trend, the Premier revealed in his press conference he is considering placing restrictions on consumers.
Ford was quizzed about whether the province was going to consider asking stores to limit how many people can go in at once, given the chaos Ontario has seen in recent times.
He shared that he has been in talks with numerous CEOs of chain stores.
"I've talked to the six largest retail chains in the country, talked to all the CEOs. [As a] matter of fact, we're doing a conference tomorrow and we're going to be discussing that issue," Ford explained.
"Nothing seems to panic people more than going into a retail store and shelves are empty," Ford stressed.
"I still can't get my head around this toilet paper situation, neither can the tissue companies."
That mention of toilet paper is surely no coincidence.
After all, most of the focus on Ontario's panic buying has seen toilet tissue stripped from shelves in many places.
And, in response to this kind of frenzied shopping, Ford suggested that even more restrictions could come into place, particularly where vital healthcare items are concerned.
"I think another discussion we should have [is] do we limit certain buys? You know how they have a sale 'you can only buy two?'" he asked rhetorically.
"Well, maybe I think we should start doing that with healthcare items but, again, that's going to be up to the retailers."
The thinking there is likely that, for stores like No Frills that have faced huge lineups, shopper and item limits would stem the spread of panic buying and also help to emphasize the practice of social distancing.
Ford and Ontario officials will be speaking again on Thursday, March 19.