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Store shelves are empty due to coronavirus fears with no word on when they’ll be restocked

Manufacturers and retailers are scrambling to deliver essential items.

CLEVELAND — Panic about the Coronavirus has led to panic buying at stores across the country -- including here in Northeast Ohio.

And now, supplies of disinfecting products and staples like toilet paper and paper towels are hard to come by, both online and in stores.

Retailers and manufacturers are doing all they can to keep up.

GoJo, the makers of Purell hand sanitizer, posted a video on its Facebook page trying to hire more employees after it says it dramatically increased production. 

RELATED: GOJO seeking employees for Wooster facility amid Purell demand

But, as for "when" products will be on shelves, it’s hard to get anyone to commit.

We waited twenty minutes to speak with the makers of Lysol, but they never called back.

Neither did the people behind Clorox.

But Procter & Gamble, the makers of products like Bounty, Charmin and Microban, told us by phone, they're doing everything they can to get products to the shelf.

They couldn’t give us a specific time of when they will be able to restock, but Tracey Long, a company spokesperson said, "This is an ongoing effort and it appears that will continue."

As for the stores themselves, the checkout lines at the Costco in Avon stretched nearly the length of the store, despite that fact one shopper said, "I went to Costco and found nothing."

A manager couldn't say when they’d be getting in more product.

Target is limiting purchases of certain items, and its CEO posted a message on its website telling shoppers, it's working around the clock to get products to the stores. 

David Saltzman, head of Finance and Strategy at Dave’s Supermarkets, told us by phone that they're still stocked with the essentials, including wipes, but that may not last for long.

"We get trucks to the stores several days a week, and what we're being told now is that they're starting to be putting limits on how much you get. But certain things just aren't coming in,” he said.

But, if you're willing to buy lesser known brands, or in bulk online, you could be in luck.

So, here's the deal:  While limited, there are products out there.  Your best bet is to try online, because if one store doesn't have something, you can just log on to another.

And many online stores let you pick a back-up brand in case they are out of what you want. 

If you want, or have to go to the store, pick a more rural location. Obviously, there are fewer people buying there, but big box stores still have to stay stocked.

Statements from other Retailers:

Marc’s Stores:

Marc’s commitment to our customers, employees, and our communities has never been stronger!

As we continue to monitor and follow the expert guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), our main goal is to continue to keep our employees and customers healthy.

  • We have implemented an increased cleaning and sanitizing regimen at all stores.
  • We are ordering product from all available resources.
  • Our trucks and warehouse facilities are operating 24/7.
  • Extra efforts on stocking and product availabilities are in place
  • In an effort to serve the most customers, we have implemented limits on certain items.
  • We will continue to bring you the freshest product and the national name brands you know and trust.
  • We do ask any customers who are feeling ill, coughing, sneezing or feverish to refrain from patronizing our stores until you are sure you are well and cleared of any communicable diseases.

We will continue to closely monitor this pandemic on a daily basis and will follow all recommendations for safety as put out by the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and our local and federal governments. We appreciated your patience during this extraordinary time and we will work diligently to be your partner in safety and health.

Giant Eagle:

At Giant Eagle, we recognize the important role our supermarkets, pharmacies, and GetGo locations play in serving our communities in times of need. As the circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19 continue to evolve, our preparation activities are largely focused on safeguarding the health of all our Team Members, while we work together to meet the ongoing needs of our guests with well-stocked stores.

As our guests take steps to prepare themselves and their families for the coming days and weeks, there has been a significant increase in foot traffic throughout our supermarket locations. In response, we are taking every opportunity to support our retail Team Members and are working diligently to keep our shelves as stocked as possible by working closely with our supply partners to secure in-demand products and increasing the frequency of deliveries of essential items to our stores. All in-store Team Members are focused on stocking shelves and filling Curbside Pickup and Delivery orders and we have asked our corporate Team Members, who are healthy and able, to transition to work in our stores. Across the company, we continue to reinforce the importance of staying home if Team Members feel ill, and are identifying and eliminating potential barriers related to attendance policies.

Like all retailers, the availability of certain products varies on a store-by-store basis with items like hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, water, paper towels and toilet paper currently in highest demand. As we do our best to manage inventory, we are asking our guests to help us make these essential items accessible to all our friends and neighbors by being mindful of how much of each item they plan to purchase. While limitations on most items will be made by stores based on product availability, all locations will be temporarily limiting purchases of paper towels and toilet paper to three packages of each per guest, and bottled water to four packages per guest.



Click here to see our special coronavirus section.  

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