Shoppers stock up in anticipation of coronavirus threat

Mar 13, 2020

Panicked shoppers have flocked to Wareham stores, often depleting the supplies of toilet paper and bleach-based cleaning products and stocking up on goods like frozen vegetables in anticipation of a local coronavirus outbreak.

Walmart completely ran out of toilet paper, lysol wipes, bleach, hand sanitizer, alcohol, gloves, and masks on Thursday, and the store was fairly busy right until closing.

A clerk at Stop & Shop said at about 11 a.m. on Friday that this was the first day the store had really seen a dramatic increase in customers. She added that she had only seen the store as busy as it was just before blizzards.

The store was facing the same shortages as Walmart, and signs reading “Oops! Out of stock” and “Due to tight supply, limit 5” dotted the often-empty shelves. The store also seemed to be running low on items like frozen vegetables, yogurt, and eggs.

At Shaw’s, the store was packed just before noon. Customers waiting to check out almost completely filled the space between the registers and the aisles at the front of the store. 

While Shaw’s still had some toilet paper, it was out of many cleaning products, and had similar food shortages to those at Stop and Shop.
Eileen, a customer waiting to check out at Shaw’s, said she was just doing her regular weekly shopping trip, and was shocked by the chaos.

“This is crazy,” she said. Luckily, she was able to buy everything she needed, except for the antibacterial soap she likes to use at home.

Denise, who was also waiting in line, was buying a little more than she usually would. She said she hadn’t initially been too worried about the coronavirus, but after watching “too much tv” and being bombarded with news updates on her phone and calls from friends and relatives, she was starting to be concerned. 

“People are going into a panic,” she said. She was buying a little more than usual both for herself and her son in an attempt to stay ahead of the game, she explained, as she’s concerned that the panic and demand for goods will only increase.

“There’s nothing you can really do,” she said. “It’s going to take its course.”