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With COVID-19 cases rising, customers see empty shelves in stores

Posted at 11:06 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 02:06:47-05

As the number of COVID-19 cases goes up, shoppers are once again finding the store shelves bare.

Oceano resident, Shayanna, was surprised to see shelves cleaned off of toilet paper and paper towels on Monday.

“It was completely bare, I was really shocked at first, I didn’t think with how soon the pandemic is rising that people would already be taking it so quickly,” she said.

San Luis Obispo resident, David Van Matre, had a similar experience shopping ahead of Thanksgiving.

"What I was able to see was pretty much completely empty rows when it came to toilet paper and paper towels that whole section was pretty cleaned out,” he said.

Dr. Seckin Ozkul, Supply Chain Innovation Lab Director at USF, said he believes some production facilities have been preparing.

“Some of these companies, such as toilet paper have produced over this period, between the first and second wave that we’re seeing now and I would expect them to be using some of those that they stored,” he said.

Some local stores are maintaining limits on goods. Costco in San Luis Obispo limits vary by day. While others, like Target, are keeping a one per guest limit on paper towels, toilet paper, and flushable wipes.

Smart and Final also currently has a limit in place of one toilet paper package and one paper towel package per family.

“I am on the lookout. I still have enough for my personal use, but I am always cautious preparing for the future, especially in these times we live in today," Target shopper, David, said.

Areas like Washington and South Florida have also seen an increase in toilet paper stockpiling.