What does the coronavirus mean for grocery stores?


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Amid coronavirus concerns, shoppers are seeing shelves are a little more bare than usual.

“As soon as a product comes in, the workers are just working tirelessly just getting it out on the shelf as soon as they can,” said Bonita Garafalo, who works for a contractor that deals with rearranging products in grocery stores.

Things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer can be hard to come by.

“They had everything pretty much except for toilet paper,” said shopper Chandler Bouzek on Wednesday.

However, employees are still working hard.

“I know that all my former employees, coworkers, they’re taking a beating right now,” said Chris Barach, who has worked as a manager at major supermarket chains.

He said the big challenge is keeping the shelves stocked.

“As far as just food items and general items that people are going to need for sustenance to survive, I don’t really see the grocery stores running out of that stuff anytime soon,” he said.

He said usually stores get between three and five shipments of goods on set days, but when demand peaks, that goes out the window, with stores re-stocking as soon as they can.

“It’s really when the distribution facility can select these orders, palletize them, get them into trucks, get them on the road, and get them to you,” he said.

He said he thinks salaried store managers are probably practically living at work, while stockers are probably getting a lot of overtime.

Garafalo said she’s even seen shoppers waiting to get in Harris Teeter before it opens in the morning.

“There’s so much consumer demand it’s hard to keep up with it,” she said.

Barach said that stores are also probably adjusting their hours not just to continue restocking, but also to sanitize.

Politico reports that leaders in meat, dairy, and produce industries, as well as federal regulators, say the U.S. has enough food to meet the increased demand.

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