Major supermarkets are considering reinstating limits on toilet paper and paper towels following a surge in demand.

Massive crowds have stripped supermarket shelves of toiletries, perishables and canned goods with lines stretching for hundreds of metres at some stores.

Shoppers face long waits of up to two hours during the countdown to the 6pm Friday deadline, with social media flooded with images of bare shelves and long checkout lines.

Residents in the council areas of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Redlands will be required to stay at home until 6pm on Monday.

Woolworths is encouraging shoppers to “only buy what they need”.

“As an essential service, our supermarkets will remain open to support our customers’ food and grocery needs during the temporary lockdown,” a spokesman told AAP.

“Stock will continue to flow to stores from our distribution centres.

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“We are currently reviewing the situation closely and will introduce product limits if required.”

People in Greater Brisbane also face the first mandatory order to don face masks outside their homes, prompting a rush to get the essential protection.

Shoppers have swarmed pharmacies and Bunnings where the masks have been sold in bulk in recent months.

Queensland Health has called for calm, reminding the Brisbane community that supermarkets and essential businesses will remain open.

“There are no concerns that supermarket supplies are at risk during this three-day period,” a spokesman said.

Greater Brisbane will enter the hard lockdown after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel was diagnosed with the UK variant of COVID-19.

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People will only be allowed to leave their home for essential work, exercise, essential shopping and to access healthcare or to look after the vulnerable.

Masks are mandatory for anyone outside their home, aside from children under 12.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state had decided “to go hard and go early” to contain potential spread of the virus.

“If we do not do this now it could end up being a 30-day lockdown,” she said.

AAP has contacted Coles and Bunnings for comment.

With AAP

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