BEAUMONT, Texas — As concerns for the coronavirus continue to spread, folks are flooding grocery stores here in southeast Texas, and across the nation, clearing the shelves of items toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
Marc Blieden and Myra Clark both spent their afternoons at Kroger, trying to cross off items on their shopping lists.
"Pandemonium," Blieden said, "everybody is just grabbing what they can and going."
"I think people are panicking, and I really don't think there's any need for it," Clark said.
Popular stores like H-E-B, Kroger and Walmart have addressed the growing concerns of their customers.
A representative for H-E-B told 12News:
"While our customers may find our supply of some products low or temporarily out of stock, please rest assured that we’re maintaining close contact with our suppliers and our Partners (employees) are working around-the-clock to keep our shelves stocked. We encourage customers to check back with us if they cannot find what they need, we are receiving inventory and restocking our shelves throughout the day to serve our customers."
They went on to say:
"We have seen an increase in Curbside and H-E-B Home Delivery sales as customers plan for any unexpected stay-at-home events. Our customers are our top priority and we are here to assist shoppers prepare for any situation. As with any increase in demand for products, H-E-B adjusts to fulfill the need."
Kroger limited the number of sanitization, cold, flu and household essentials to three per order.
On their website, Kroger alerted customers:
"Due to increased demand, you may experience longer lead times and limited inventory. Our associates are working around the clock to ensure our pickup, delivery, ship and in-store services are open and available for you."
Kroger also tweeted:
"There’s a high demand for select products at this time, and we want to ensure all our customers have access. We are working closely with our suppliers to replenish our inventories."
Walmart also took to their website to respond to the latest coronavirus concerns:
"As one would expect, paper products, cleaning supplies and other items are in high demand as customers prepare for the possible impact of COVID-19. We are working to replenish those items quickly, including diverting products to areas of the country where they are needed most and routing deliveries directly to stores. We have also authorized our store managers to manage their inventory, including the discretion to limit sales quantities on items that are in unusually high demand. Online, we are taking a firm stance related to the potential for price gouging by third-party sellers. Violations of our seller pricing policy and seller prohibited items policy will not be tolerated and will be resolved quickly."
Blieden feels none of the stores were prepared for this. He hopes to see the shelves restocked soon.
"I have been through major hurricanes, go back all the way to before Rita, Ike, Harvey, Imelda, nothing compared to what we're seeing this week at the stores," he said.
While the hot items on everyone's list seem to be toilet paper and bleach, the Department of Homeland Security lists neither one on their list of things people should have in preparation for a pandemic.
The list does say to:
- Store a two week supply of water and food.
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
- Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference. Get help accessing electronic health records.
- Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.