State urges Michiganders to avoid stockpiling and panic shopping

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:23 PM EST
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - As coronavirus cases climb, there’s a concern that stores’ supply chains could break.

The state is urging Michiganders not to stockpile despite a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases around the state. Regulators say shoppers should continue buying as normal one trip at a time.

Toilet paper, bottled water and cleaning products are all items shoppers expect retailers to have in stock at any given time. But stores can maintain their stock during the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic if shoppers cooperate.

“When it comes to necessities everybody needs, we need shoppers to show restraint,” said Meegan Holland with the Michigan Retailers Association.

She said that means limiting, restricting or controlling what and how much of a product is purchased at a time.

“There is a supply chain. Typically it runs very smoothly, but if people panic buy it can put a really big kink in that supply chain,” Holland said.

Retailers have learned people’s shopping habits from when the pandemic first began compared to now. Many stores in Michigan had difficulty keeping things like toilet paper, paper towel and pantry staples in stock last spring, when coronavirus reached the state.

“Don’t be surprised if you see signs that limit the quantities of what you can buy,” Holland said.

The Great Giant market on Saginaw Road in Flint did not have limits on products people can buy, but that could change.

“Toilet paper? Yeah we were definitely short on that, cleaning supplies all that stuff, but now that it’s the second time around, we’re more prepared,” manager Sierra Cox said.

Judging by their shelves, most products remain in stock and customers are not going overboard.

The Michigan Retailers Association recommends people buy what they need on a week to week basis, which will keep the supply chain moving. The association also asks shoppers not to forget the people who are working to make sure those shelves are stocked.

“We actually ask people that they thank grocery store workers,” Holland said. “They deserve our thanks. They are on the front lines and it’s been a difficult time for them.”

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