In light of mass panic growing among Americans looking to self-quarantine following the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, several stores across the U.S. are forcing limits on items. The latest big box department store taking proactive measures to ensure supply is fairly available upon equal demand is Walmart, who will now be limiting purchases of specific products as a response to panic buying.
According to CBS News, Walmart will be limiting its purchases of paper products, milk, eggs and hand sanitizers, which have become pandemic staples for many across North America, looking to stock up on the essentials as they stay home and help flatten the curve in the virus' growth. While manufacturers are not reporting any shortages of items in production itself, like toilet paper per brands such as Cottonelle or Charmin, stores are still struggling to keep up with the speed of items selling out, while stocking up shelves in time for the next customers because of hoarding.
"Our stores will have limits for customers in certain categories including paper products, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, wipes, formula and baby food," Walmart wrote in a statement issued through their corporate blog on Wednesday. "Our people are working hard to have every part of the store ready to serve customers."
The company added that they are also paying "very close attention" to their stores and communities in an effort to make any "necessary changes" that will help make sure their associates are also taken care of and customers can get what they need.
Per CBS News, some products are already in a short supply across the country as anxious customers continue stockpiling goods despite warnings and pleas from state officials, including the president, Donald Trump. Many of the items selling out in stores include hand sanitizer, with many buyers trying to resell the products at higher prices in an attempt to make a profit.
Due to the surge in panic buying, many stores are also changing up their hours, which will allow associates to take their time restocking shelves; as well as implementing "seniors only" hours every Tuesday in an effort to provide fair shopping experiences for all their customers, including those at high-risk for getting coronavirus, 60 and older. The senior shopping service will run between March 24 through April 28.
Walmart sees that adjustment for its brand continuing well into the next few days as the situation is carefully assessed and monitored. The store has already cut its hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., revealing its locations will now be open to customers from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Additionally, stores that open later than 7 a.m. will continue with those hours.
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