Supermarkets have begun taking measures such as limiting customers, rationing baby food and doubling orders as a result of coronavirus stockpiling. 

Representatives of some of the larger supermarkets said there are adequate preparations for keeping shops stocked but a surge in online booking has led to a backlog.

And employees are struggling to keep up with the volume of shoppers and the task of keeping shelves full. 

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"Our employees need time to do their jobs safely, exercising a little patience in this case would go a long way," a representative from PG Group, who run the supermarkets PAMA and PAVI said. 

The two outlets are currently stocking the shops at night, to limit unnecessary contact between staff and customers. 

A busy scene at Pavi supermarket in Qormi on Friday morning. Video: Chris Sant Fournier
 

While PAMA and PAVI will continue to accept cash payments, they are encouraging shoppers to pay by card and have implemented a more vigorous cleaning regime at cash points. 

Cashiers and other staff have also been given gloves and the establishments are currently waiting on a shipment of masks and hand sanitizers that will be available around the store. 

The number of people allowed in the supermarkets at any given time has also been temporarily limited. 

At Valyou supermarket the workforce will start operating with face masks as from today. The outlets have also been furnished with hand sanitizers for everyone's use. 

Queues down the aisles in Valyou, Naxxar on Thursday night.Queues down the aisles in Valyou, Naxxar on Thursday night.
 

A representative for Valyou told Times of Malta that while sales peaks had doubled, there had been no need to employ crowd control for the time being and the flow of stock was keeping up well with the damns. 

"We have a big backlog on our online shopping orders which we are currently remedying by redirecting parts of our workforce," the representative said. 

"For the moment we are coping well. Supplies are coming in normally and we're putting in double orders. We've also met with our suppliers regarding the replenishing of necessity items, like pasta, which are selling fast, to ensure adequate stock." 

At Park Towers supermarkets, purchases were going ahead as normal with the retailer taking the decision to limit purchases on baby food and powdered milk, so that everybody could get their fair share. 

Empty shelves in Lidl on Thursday night.Empty shelves in Lidl on Thursday night.
 

"We are well stocked and supply is coming in good, but not as fast as the panic buying," a representative for Park Towers told Times of Malta

"If that were to slow down just a little bit, then we would be good, but for the moment it's simply not possible logistically." 

The supermarket has had to lease an additional truck and hire security to limit the number of cars entering the garage at one outlet. 

"But overall, the island is well stocked for the time being," he said. 

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