COVID-19: Virus fear sparks panic buying

Bread shelves at Sam's Club were almost bare on Sunday. (Photo/UCBJ)

By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ

Meat cases were bare at Sam’s due to panicked shopping.

COOKEVILLE – Fear of the unknown surrounding the coronavirus, COVID-19, resulted in a run on grocery and paper products that began last Thursday across the Upper Cumberland and resulted in empty shelves and irritated shoppers.

Monday, stores were still trying to restock shelves after a weekend where sales at some major retailers exceeded their Black Friday sales figures. 

Local grocers were mobbed too, with Spring Street Market Manager Eddie McDonald saying, “Business was more than double this weekend.”

At Sam’s Club, team members said that it had been four straight days of “craziness.” 

On Saturday, three pallets of toilet paper were placed on the floor, and within 20 minutes, they were all gone. Milk and eggs had been sold out since Friday. 

Sam’s team members hoped to restock thoroughly soon but acknowledged that the larger shipments were going to the bigger stores in Nashville and Knoxville.

McDonald reported on Monday, “We are restocking today and getting back where we can stay in business today and hopefully get another big shipment in on Thursday.”

Milk and egg refrigerator was empty.

Walmart has changed its store hours from open 24 hours to open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. to implement additional cleaning measures and to restock inventory.

Walmart supply managers stated that there is plenty of stock in the distribution cycle, and people don’t need to fear shortages of food. Each store is receiving around seven trucks a day, six to seven days per week. 

“The reduced store hours is to ensure that we can restock, and everyone has a chance to get what they need,” said a Walmart supply manager who asked to remain anonymous.

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