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In Joburg's northern suburbs, furtive shoppers scurry by with just a few essentials in their baskets

The handful who did brave it outside their homes did not interact and walked fast, clutching their milk and bread

27 March 2020 - 14:21 By Kgaugelo Masweneng

No flowers, no booze and no queues. This was the picture at the Woolworths and Pick n Pay shops in Victory Park, Johannesburg, as locals adhered to the 21-day lockdown laws.

It was business as usual for the few customers who had made their way to the mall for their daily milk and bread errands, with almost all pay points open.

The parking lot was half-full with car guards standing around, hand sanitisers at the ready. Only the pharmacy, supermarkets and the Bella Mia pet shop were open.

The handful who did brave it outside their homes did not speak to others and walked fast, some casting a suspicious glance at their fellow shoppers.

There were hardly any big trolleys in use, hand baskets being the order of the day for carrying daily essentials such as bread and milk.

The wine section at the Woolworths was fenced off with the message: “Try our new range of nonalcoholic drinks as a great alternative to wine during lockdown.”

And it was goodbye to buds as flowers do not fall into the "essential food" category. Empty vessels stood forlornly on the shelves.

“Sadly, plants and flowers don't fall into the essential category, so we won't be able to sell them at the moment. Thank you for your understanding,” said a note from Woolworths.

Kitchenware, gardening, toys, stationery, the beauty section and many other aisles were cordoned off with red tape, both at Woolworths and Pick n Pay.

There was no law enforcement present in the streets.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday urged South Africans to abide by the measures put in place for the nationwide lockdown.

On Friday morning, it was announced that two people have died as a result of Covid-19.