The White House has warned citizens against hoarding daily supplies in the wake of videos showing people fighting for products like toilet paper and hand sanitizer and panic-buying daily essentials until shelves are empty.
President Donald Trump on Sunday spoke with “more than two dozen” grocery store and supply chain executives and thanked them for their work as people flock to stores to stockpile on supplies over fears surrounding the spread of coronavirus.
Though the White House said it is unnecessary for Americans to hoard daily supplies, the president told the store executives that stocked shelves with needed items will help Americans feel “safe and calm.”
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Keeping shelves stocked and meeting the public’s demand has become an increasingly difficult task for supply chain stores, though. Major grocery stores like Kroger and Publix announced on Sunday that they are changing their store hours to better meet demand.
“Publix will continue to focus on keeping our associates healthy – and our stores open and stocked – to serve and support all our communities,” Todd Jones, Publix CEO, said in a statement regarding the chain closing earlier in order to properly clean and stock.
Videos from US stores in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak show the effects panic buying is having on both consumers and workers.
This is insanity! pic.twitter.com/3QZxscrzyW
— Marc ⭐⭐⭐ (@Proven_Right) March 15, 2020
Some videos show customers taking supplies like paper towels straight off of pallets before they are even stocked.
people are scrambling out here like it’s the end of the world @SamsClub to get paper towel 🤯
— Eric Quach 🚀 (@EricQuachSpeaks) March 14, 2020
Others show lines of people ready with their carts waiting outside before stores even open.
NSANE! 😲 FOX5 viewer Katrina Maves shared this video of the lines to enter Costco in Henderson this morning as the store opened.
— FOX5 Las Vegas (@FOX5Vegas) March 6, 2020
— karen swensen (@karenswensen) March 14, 2020
Many are dealing with empty shelves when they arrive.
— 🎴 MΞNTO (@CryptoMento) March 14, 2020
So I just went to the grocery store during today’s episode of coronavirus panic pic.twitter.com/TenTEPtlVq
— amanda (@shes_the_manda) March 14, 2020
— Mr. Berg (@Berg_Science) March 14, 2020
While the panic buying is in direct response to the coronavirus, it is in opposition to the ‘social distancing’ politicians have been promoting through Twitter. Putting yourself in a horde of people to get supplies likely increases your risk of being exposed to the virus, especially since grocery store employees are now coming into contact with more and more people.
— taztv410 (@taztv410) March 14, 2020
Kroger even confirmed on Sunday that two employees — one at a King Soopers store in Colorado and one at a Fred Meyer’s store in Washington state – have tested positive for coronavirus. The chain said they worked with state governments and health officials to properly sanitize those locations.
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