Singapore — RedMart, the online supermarket, has apologised for delivery and service delays following an unusually large number of orders for groceries and household items.
In a social media post on Wednesday (Feb 12), it explained that demand for its goods exceeded 300 per cent of its weekly average.
It said: “Since DORSCON Orange was raised, RedMart has experienced a tremendous increase in bulk buys and large orders.” This included a single purchase that exceeded 800 kilograms. The DORSCON level was raised to Orange on Feb 7.
Singaporeans then began to stock up on food and other essentials, leading to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and other leaders stressing that there was no need for panic-buying because there were enough supplies.
Long queues had formed at supermarkets and people bought trolley-loads of stuff. In order to cope with this, as of Sunday (Feb 9), all NTUC FairPrice outlets began limiting each shopper to four packs of paper products, two bags of rice and four bundle packs of instant noodles. The S$50 limit for vegetables per customer also remained in place.
Online grocery delivery services such as RedMart also had all available delivery slots filled quickly, with people having to wait for more time slots to be opened up early in the morning before booking their delivery dates.
DORSCON Orange, the status just below DORSCON Red, means that the outbreak is deemed to have moderate to high public health impact. While there will be mild disruptions to daily life, like increased temperature screenings outside venues and stronger quarantine measures, the situation is not dire enough for a strict lockdown.
In another Facebook post on Friday (Feb 14), RedMart updated social media that it expected normal operations to resume early in the coming week.