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Washington grocery stores take steps to restock dwindling supplies

Grocery stores across Washington have run dry on supplies. (User submitted photo)

Safeway and Albertsons locations in Washington will spend nights restocking shelves that have run dry in the wake of the state’s coronavirus outbreak.

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In a statement to KIRO Radio’s Gee Scott, the grocery chains’ parent company stated that stores will be restocking early mornings now between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Stores will remain closed to the public during those hours.

“Some of our stores have adjusted their hours to give our teams the time they need to restock shelves and get ready to serve our communities,” the written statement reads.

As Washington’s coronavirus outbreak has escalated, panic shopping has ensued, with people clearing out supplies of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and non-perishable food items. Meanwhile, lines at local Safeways, Costcos, and more have stretched across the length of stores, as people have shopped en masse in fear of a possible statewide quarantine.

That all being so, state officials have warned residents to avoid overstocking.

“The more you overstock those supplies, the less is available for your sick neighbors, and for doctors, dentists, and emergency response personnel,” said the Washington State Department of Health on Twitter.

“Those that are overbuying are putting their friends and neighbors at risk,” Gov. Inslee added in a response of his own.

The hope for Safeway and Albertson locations is that a four hour window to replenish bare shelves will afford stores the time they need to ensure that there are enough supplies for everyone. Beyond that, there is also a concern about restocking in situations where an opened grocery store makes safe social distancing difficult for staff and shoppers alike.

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“Our stores are following an enhanced cleaning and disinfection schedule throughout each day, and allowing our employees to stock without customers in the store will enable them to do this work in the most sanitary environment possible,” Safeway and Albertsons’ statement notes.

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