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Washingtonians urged to avoid hoarding after weekend brings rash of panic shopping

A line outside Costco. (User submitted photo)

When stay-at-home restrictions were first announced in March, Washington grocery stores quickly experienced shortages of essential items like toilet paper, disinfectant, paper towels, and non-perishable food items. That issue appears to be rearing its head once again following new restrictions announced Sunday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Grocers release statement following Inslee’s new COVID restrictions

Costco, Fred Meyer, and Walmart locations across the Seattle area have all faced recent product shortages and empty shelves brought on by panicked shoppers. That included a Costco location in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, which reported over the weekend that toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, and all Kleenex products were fully out of stock.

Even so, customers are being urged to avoid buying essential products in overly large quantities.

“One thing we don’t need right now is hoarding,” Gov. Inslee said Sunday.

Inslee emphasized that the state’s “supply chain remains strong,” and that there’s no need to stock up on items to the extent Washington has seen in the last few days.

“Buying up everything in sight only hurts efforts to keep the flow of goods adequate to meet everyone’s needs,” he warned. “Please be considerate and save some for your neighbors, family and friends.”

Washington grocery stores take steps to restock dwindling supplies

Local grocery stores — which are now limited to 25% indoor capacity as part of the state’s new restrictions — stressed this point too, urging customers to “respect the limits” on item quantities many stores have set. Inslee pointed out that previous guidelines limited grocery store capacity to 30%.

“Many stores have placed limits on items such as eggs, toilet paper and more. Please respect these limits. They have been set in place to make sure that the products are available for all shoppers,” the Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA) detailed as part of a larger list of tips for shoppers.

That list also advises people to shop during off peak hours, avoid taking the whole family, make a list of items ahead of time to streamline your trips, and to always maintain social distancing in stores. Many stores also provide options to order ahead and pickup your items.

You can read the full list from the WFIA here.

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