The Waitrose website has collapsed, leaving thousands of shoppers unable to process grocery orders amid a panic-buying frenzy.
It follows fears that the entire county could go into lockdown as the virus continues to sweep through Europe – already claiming 35 lives in England.
Last week, Waitrose introduced a cap on antibacterial products online – limiting sales on products such as soap, for those who opt for home delivery.
However, today, customers have been unable to process orders entirely.
A spokeswoman told Mirror Money: "We are experiencing some intermittent technical issues due to high volumes, but we're working to resolve them and are sorry for any inconvenience."
Speaking on restrictions, it said: "In-store, we are currently not putting a cap on any products. We have introduced a temporary cap on certain products on Waitrose.com including some antibacterial soaps and wipes, to ensure our customers have access to the products they need. We continue to work with suppliers to help meet demand."
Elsewhere, online supermarket Ocado has placed all customers in a 'virtual queue' after a weekend of technical failures.
The retailer's website and app both crashed at around 4pm on Saturday, as it struggled to cope with a surge of orders due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Customers trying to log on to the website are currently greeted with a message saying: "You are in a virtual queue. Sorry for the wait. Demand is very high at the moment so you may have to wait a little longer than usual to access the website. Your wait time will be more than fifteen minutes."
It explains that due to "unusual demand, we have made the call to temporarily prioritise deliveries for existing registered customers. We will not be processing new customer bookings for the time being."
The online supermarket is not the only retailer struggling with demand, with photos of emptied shelves across the UK becoming commonplace in recent days.
On Friday, customers were left locked out of the Asda website amid a stock-piling frenzy.
And on Sunday, 10 of the nation's biggest supermarkets issued a joint plea to shoppers to stop stockpiling.
Shoppers have been loading their trolleys with essentials including toilet paper, as fears intensify over the spread of Covid-19.
The killer bug has claimed the lives of 35 people in the UK.
Retailers are currently working "round the clock" to help customers get the items they need, the British Retail Consortium said.
The letter aims to reassure customers, while calling on them to support each other during the crisis.
It said: "We know that many of you are worried about the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
"We want to let you know that we are doing everything we can so that you and your families have the food and essentials you need."
The letter added: "But we need your help too.
"We would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop.
"We understand your concerns, but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without.
"There is enough for everyone if we all work together.
"Together we can make sure we are looking out for family, friends, neighbours.
"Together we will care for those around us and those who are elderly, vulnerable or choosing to remain at home."
Panic-buying has been so problematic that Aldi has put in restrictions so that shoppers will only be allowed to purchase four units of all products.
The company's customers have been stockpiling toilet roll, pasta, hand wash, sanitiser gels and pain killers leaving vulnerable people unable to buy what they need during their weekly shop.
Many other supermarkets have placed limits on certain items which are in high demand – but it is believed Aldi is the first supermarket to place the restrictions an all products.
In a statement on its Facebook page, Aldi said: "To our customers,
"We know that many of you are worried about the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). We want to let you know that we are doing everything we can so that you and your families have the food and essentials you need.
"We are working closely with the Government and our suppliers to keep food moving quickly through the system and making more deliveries to our stores to ensure our shelves are stocked. Those of us with online delivery and click-and-collect services are running them at full capacity to help you get the products you need when you need them.
"We thank all our colleagues in stores and supply chains who are working day and night to keep the nation fed.
"But we need your help too.
"We would ask everyone to be considerate in the way they shop. We understand your concerns but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without. There is enough for everyone if we all work together.
"Together we can make sure we are looking out for family, friends, neighbours. Together we will care for those around us and those who are elderly, vulnerable or choosing to remain at home.
"We are doing all we can to rise to this challenge. Serving you and keeping you and everyone who works with us safe will always be our priority."
Source: Read Full Article