HUNDREDS of shoppers formed a huge queue along a busy road this morning as they waited for a supermarket to open.

The line started at the entrance to the Sainsbury's superstore in The Drove, Newhaven, this morning as customers waited for the shop to open to stock up on supplies as they prepare for the possibility of self-isolation to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The shoppers were waiting for the store to open at 7am, with the supermarket chain pledging to set aside the first hour in all of its stores today for elderly and vulnerable customers.

Chief executive Mike Coupe said: "A number of you suggested that we reserve an hour in stores for elderly and vulnerable customers.

"In response to this request, we will set aside the first hour in every supermarket this Thursday, 19 March, for elderly and vulnerable customers."

>>>READ MORE: A list of school, shop, event and venue closures in Sussex because of coronavirus 

The Argus:

The announcement saw an overwhelming response in Newhaven, with shoppers lining the pavement as they waited for the store to open.

Earlier this week, the Government urged shoppers to be sensible and told them that panic-buying is not necessary.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "We are absolutely confident our supply chains are working, and will work...Therefore people should have no reason to stockpile or panic buy."

But shoppers continue to flock to supermarkets and empty the shelves of items such as toilet roll, hand sanitiser, baked beans and pasta.

A lenghty line formed at the ASDA store at Brighton Marina in the early hours of yesterday morning as people waited for the chance to snap up certain items.

>>>READ MORE: Keep up-to-date with all the latest coronavirus news in Sussex with our live blog

The Argus:

A passerby described more than 100 shoppers waiting outside the store this morning, waiting for its doors to open at 6am.

Once the shop did allow customers in, one visitor said shelves were "stripped bare" within minutes. Just 20 minutes after the store opened the recently replenished toilet roll stocks were sold-out, the shopper said. 

As a result of the increased demand, Tesco and ASDA have reduced the opening hours of many of its 24 hour stores, including the Brighton Marina superstore, to 6am-10pm.

The Argus:

Many other supermarkets have introduced limits for their customers, with Aldi only allowing people to buy four units of any item at a time.

Some stores have also introduced priority hours for elderly and vulnerable shoppers to ensure they are able to buy the items they need at this time.

Picture credit: Lauren McGregor and @dmoonuk