With shop shelves emptying rapidly, food suppliers also today (Tuesday 24 March) have to deal with a second day of weather disruption to the ferry service.
The service between Oban and Castlebay has been cancelled and MV Loch Seaforth has tied up in Ullapool for the day after the early sailing from Stornoway.
She’s not due to return until 6.30pm and is operating as a freight only service.  The late running service after yesterday’s cancellations has left shops depleted of stock, at a time when unusual buying behaviour is already affecting what is on the shelves.
Co-op Stornoway’s store manager Steven Macaulay said the store were waiting for a return to normality in buying patterns.
He said: “Until we can get to a position of normality it is very challenging. With no ferry returning until this evening, on top of people’s current buying patterns, it is having a real impact on us.
“We are limiting people to two items per category of foodstuffs, but until we get the stock levels back to normal we’re not going to be managing to re-stock fully.”
The Co-op has introduced an ‘extra assistance’ hour for vulnerable shoppers between 8am and 9am daily, but Steven stressed that it was not possible to close the store to other shoppers, though older and vulnerable customers would be prioritised.
Meanwhile Tesco’s superstore in Stornoway this morning saw the first dedicated shopping hour for NHS staff and home carers, between 6am and 7am. The set-aside hour is to be in place every Tuesday morning.
A store spokesman said: “We all know how hard the NHS are working right now.  Many of them haven’t had the chance to shop for themselves.”
NHS shoppers who took advantage of this morning’s hour were presented with flowers on leaving the store and applauded by Tesco’s staff as they left the shop.
One NHS worker said: “Wow Tesco's. Not only did you open early for NHS staff you were lined up clapping us and gave us flowers when we left. You guys are amazing too!”