Coronavirus impacts grocers shelves [photo gallery]

On Thursday, March 19, McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight reported the county’s first case of COVID-19. The man, in his 70s, is in good condition and being treated in isolation at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal.

Before this report, the impact of Coronavirus could be seen at the local level. As Americans grow nervous about the pandemic, as the government puts limitations on public life, customers across the country have been clearing supermarket shelves of essential items: toilet paper, cleaners, nonperishables like canned goods and cereal and fresh staples like milk, bread and meat.

Food demand in retail locations is at “unprecedented levels,” said Morris Cohen, a professor of operations, information and decisions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school in an interview with CNN. “There will be spot shortages caused by panic buying,” he noted.

The Walmart Supercenter on Greenbriar Dr. was no exception on Tuesday, March 17.

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  • Bare shelves have become common across the country as stores such as Walmart struggle to restock paper goods such as toilet paper and paper towels.

  • Shoppers purchased most of the store’s available cheese products, and many shelves were emptied by 4:30 pm.

  • The limited selection of fresh meat products available at Walmart served as an inconvenience for many customers.

  • Common cleaning supplies such as all-purpose cleaners and disinfectant wipes are in limited supply as shoppers attempt to halt the spread of Coronavirus.

  • Walmart’s bleach section was bare; the popular household disinfectant could not be found anywhere in the store.

  • Many pet owners stocked up on items like kitty litter and cat food, which resulted in a limited amount of these products. Although most brands of these items were completely sold out, dog food was still readily available in the next aisle.

  • Many frozen meal options such as Jack’s brand pizzas were completely sold out, and the entire pizza selection was nearly empty.

  • Ingredients like vegetable oil, a cooking and baking staple, were nearly sold out, while many other ingredients in the baking aisle were abundant.