Pandemic shopping is leading to bare shelves at grocery stores again

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 12:05 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Growing COVID-19 cases are finding many of you saying “here we go again.” If you’ve been to a grocery store lately, you may have noticed popular household items flying off the shelves yet again. Now some big chains are setting restrictions to prevent hoarding.

When it comes to some items, don’t expect to walk out of some stores in our area with multiple items of the same product. Shoppers are flocking to the shelves in what you may consider pandemic preparation or pandemic panic.

At Fresh to Frozen in Chesterfield, it was a bit busy on Tuesday.

“I came to stock up for the week,” shopper Joanna Pipes said.

She came after getting word a store where she lives in Henrico has a little problem.

“Toilet paper is very short and the bleach, but [I] noticed they had plenty here,” she said.

A recent report by Inmar Intelligence found 57% of shoppers are looking at re-filling their stockpiles as the coronavirus reaches its highest rates ever.

“They’re buying a lot of water. They’re asking for vegetables, fruits and all that stuff,” said Erick Rosales of Fresh to Frozen grocery store.

And of course, toilet paper. There were bare shelves at a Richmond Walmart Tuesday. Water, milk and bread are flying off the shelves there.

Up the road in Henrico, Food Lion can barely keep paper towels on the shelves.

“They think that they’re going to go into a horrible lockdown and never going to leave the house, and they’re just buying and buying and buying,” said shopper Christa Floyd.

“To ensure all customers have access to what they need, we’ve proactively and temporarily set purchase limits on certain products to two per customer, including bath tissue, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap. These purchase limits apply in-store as well as to e-commerce orders,” a Kroger spokesperson said in a statement.

Chains like Publix and Walmart are making similar moves.

A sign greets customers at the Walmart on Forrest Hill saying, “We respectfully ask you to limit your purchase to 1 per item. Thanks for understanding.”

In that Walmart parking lot, a message is playing for a parking lot speaker reminding customers to stay home if they’re sick. Someone was also standing at the door checking for masks and giving them to those who didn’t have one.

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