TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club(YJC)_As shoppers swarmed stores, President Donald Trump on Friday afternoon declared a national emergency aimed at slowing the spread of the novel virus, which has killed at least 47 people in the United States.
Daily routines have been upended as businesses including Amazon.com (AMZN.O) urge employees to work from home, schools and universities close, and sporting events and church services are paused across the country. In response to the run on certain items, major retailers have imposed some purchase limits.
The chief executive of Walmart Inc (WMT.N), Doug McMillon, at a news conference with Trump on Friday, said the retailer was having trouble keeping up with demand for products like hand sanitizer Purell, cleaning supplies and paper goods.
“Hand sanitizer is going to be very difficult to have 100% in stock for some time,” McMillon said. “We’re still replenishing it ... but as soon as it hits the stores it’s going. The same thing is true for the other categories I mentioned.”
In Hanover, New Jersey, about 40 customers had lined up to get into a Wegmans grocery store before it opened on Friday morning. A few hours later, shelves were stripped bare of sanitizing wipes, bulk rice and dried beans. The store posted signs announcing limits on the purchase of hand sanitizer and bottled water.
“An abundance of caution - semper paratus, like the Coast Guard motto that means ‘always ready,’” shopper Marlene Russell, 69, told a reporter after packing groceries into her car.
At a Fairway Market on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, shelves normally full of pasta, Oreo cookies, pasta sauce, crackers and toilet paper were depleted on Thursday evening. On the West Coast, grocery stores including Ralphs, Pavilions and Trader Joe’s had sold out of products ranging from eggs to Lysol cleaning wipes.