The incident comes as supermarkets across the UK took action this week to try and curb the increasing panic buying and stockpiling among customers.
- PTI London
- Last Updated: March 19, 2020, 5:42 PM IST
As a sign of the mounting chaos over panic buying amid the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, an elderly Sikh man was filmed being shoved out of a supermarket in east London after an altercation with the employees.
The unnamed man can be seen in the recording, which was widely shared on social media on Wednesday, being pushed out of the Iceland store in Ilford after an argument with members of the staff.
He is repeatedly seen saying that a staff member had pushed him.
“You pushed me,” the elderly man is seen saying before staff members demand that he should “get out” of the store.
The source of the film footage remains unclear but many on social media responded with anger and sided with the older customer, criticising the Iceland staff for using violence against an elderly man.
“This is not the time for Iceland staff to be assaulting elderly customers! We are in a national crisis and older people are struggling the most,” wrote one.
The incident comes as supermarkets across the UK took action this week to try and curb the increasing panic buying and stockpiling among customers, as the government began imposing strict quarantine measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
The official death toll in Britain from the virus reached 104 on Wednesday, up from 71 the previous day, with London the epicentre of the outbreak.
Iceland is among the stores that announced early opening hours for the elderly, said to be in the high-risk category and therefore being asked to strictly self-isolate. The company said that while it was not a company policy, it was allowing individual stores to decide how best to meet the needs of shoppers in their local areas.
Supermarkets have also collectively called on customers to be “considerate” as images of supermarket shelves being stripped of goods being widely shared online.
“In the face of unprecedented demand as a result of coronavirus, food retailers have come together to ask their customers to support each other to make sure everyone can get access to the products they need,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The emptying of shelves has led some supermarkets to limit the sale of certain products, such as toilet paper, pasta and canned goods. Some have restrictions in place for customers to buy a maximum of four of each item, while others are limited to buying no more than five of certain goods such as anti-bacterial gels or long-life milk.