Within hours of the Government telling people not to panic, supermarkets were reporting huge increases in the number of shoppers at the tills today.

The scenes at stores all over the country are remarkable. Aisles of empty shelves. There is simply no logic to people doing a grab-all in shops.

Sure, there are people who are stocking up. There are people who are buying for vulnerable family or friends. There are people who are simply doing a big shop because the children will be off school and they want some food in the cupboards.

But, then there is the shopper spotted in Aldi in Palmerston this evening with a trolley virtually full of instant noodles and creamed rice.

There are the people buying loaves and loaves of bread and there are the people who are buying food, that in a few weeks, they will dump.

Retail Excellence which represents the big retailers here has been providing reassurances since early today that the supply chains that keep our shop shelves stocked are solid.

There will be a steady stream of product as always.

The retailers do concede that there has been a demand for non-perishable goods over rent weeks. We've seen it ourselves, pasta has been flying off the shelves.

Then without any logic whatsoever, people are stocking up on toilet roll!

But this evening comes a reality check from Retail Ireland.

In a statement they said: "Retail distribution networks are not designed to deal with bulk buying on a widespread basis. It is important that consumers behave responsibly and don’t buy more than they need."

To put this in plain English, although the supply chains are solid and constant, they are not designed to deal with people bulk buying.

If people grab all from the shelves, others will have to do without, at least for a few days.

Retail Excellence, another representative group, has rounded on people posting social media pictures of empty shelves. It is they say, "simply sensationalising the matter".

The group has said: "Ireland is prepared to continue to supply all grocery outlets for the coming months. There is no reason for Irish citizens to have any concern in that regard."

At a press conference earlier, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said stocking up on food and household items should not be necessary.

Panic buying, bulk buying, call it what you will could severely damage our ability to keep food on the shelves. Sure, the shelves will be re-stocked but some people will have to go without until that happens.

We need to keep one thing in mind, the bakeries will remain open, the cows will be milked, the meat factories will continue to supply their customers, the local butcher will never see their customers go without.

Spare a thought too for people who shop on a limited budget. They rely on the same products, which are reasonably priced.

If those who can afford to buy multiples of what they need continue to do so, it adversely impacts everyone.

We are told that the possibility of a hard Brexit meant that retailers are well stocked and prepared.

It’s hard not be reminded of the iconic 'Keep Calm' posters. We need to keep calm, wash our hands and buy what we need, for now.