Americans are continuing to stock up on food as panic over coronavirus continues to sweep the country. Lines in grocery stores grow as people stock up on food.

“Panic-buying” has made it difficult for supermarkets to keep items in stock. Panic buying also means there isn’t enough supply for the elderly or those that cannot access food on a regular basis.  And food supply experts and grocery stores are working to ensure the public that there is enough food.

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“Panic-buying happens when people worry about the scarcity of supplies,” Steven Taylor, professor and clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia, told NBC News, “The combination of fear, urgency and perceived scarcity can lead to things like people fighting over hand sanitizer in the supermarket aisles. This creates a sense of urgency and leads people to over-buy, that is buying more supplies than they really need, just to be on the safe side. This can create real shortages because people buy more than they need. So, the fear of scarcity can create real scarcities.”

Food suppliers and buyers are also speaking out to ensure that people understand that the availability of food is strong. Julie Anna Potts, chief executive of the North American Meat Institute, a trade group,  told the New York Times, “There is food being produced. There is food in warehouses. There is plenty of food in the country.”

Even as states’ implement strict “stay in place,” measures, grocery stores are essential functions that will stay open. Ron Vachris, chief operating officer of Costco, said in an interview, “Transportation is functioning, our suppliers are working around the clock and the flow of goods is strong.” Many stores are reducing hours to give employees more time to stock shelves and sanitize the store before a rush of customers greets them the next day.

Ronald Fong, president of the California Grocers Association asked consumers to “shop normally,” and that the food supply would be available to meet normal habits, “There is really no need to overbuy or stockpile food supplies. You will be able to purchase your necessities. The food production system is safe, intact, and it is plentiful.”

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Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

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