Long queues, but calm prevails at Joburg's malls ahead of lockdown

25 March 2020 - 16:53 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Long queues at Randridge Mall in Johannesburg ahead of the national lockdown on Friday.
Long queues at Randridge Mall in Johannesburg ahead of the national lockdown on Friday.
Image: Kgaugelo Masweneng

Payday shopping is normally associated with long queues and long waits, and it was no different ahead of the national lockdown on Friday.

Queues were out of the door at many stores, but this was likely a result of stores limiting the amount of people inside in an attempt to enforce some form of social distancing.

However, calm appeared to be the order of the day.

Margaret Pilane was one of the customers who were waiting to get inside the Dis-Chem pharmacy at Randridge Mall, Johannesburg. The store allowed only 50 people inside at a  time.

“I’ve been waiting for about 10 minutes but I’m not too agitated because they have explained to us why. And this way they are making means to protect us,” she said.

Pilane is one of the many shoppers who rushed to the stores in the morning hoping to buy all they need ahead of the stay-home instruction.

She said she normally took her grandchild with her to the shops but had decided against it this time around.

Some shoppers in the queue seemed impatient but all adhered to the restrictions imposed.

A woman who helped customers by offering them hand sanitiser said it had been busy since morning.

“There’s been quite a number of people coming to the shop. I think it’s because they want to stock up on medication and other supplies,” she told TimesLIVE, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Walking around, there were hardly any full trolleys. At least at this mall, panic-buying doesn't appear to be happening.

“I think, all in all, people are confident that they will be able to shop, even though we’re on a shutdown,” said the woman at Dis-Chem.

Natalie Phillips was one of the customers who were stopped from going into the Pick 'n Pay at the mall.

“I didn’t know they controlled how many people can go in. It’s a bit of a bummer, but what can I do?” she said.

She said she hoped to get all her groceries. “It’s a bit late to do shopping for the day but I hope I can find something at least. I’ve already bought the meat and other non-perishables. I need only vegetables,” she said.