Wash. County stores hit by virus-concerned shoppers


Shoppers shared photos of empty shelves in Winco, Target, and Fred Meyer

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — Shoppers descended upon stores in the metro area Saturday to buy supplies related to coronavirus concerns.

Purell Aloe Hand Sanitizer is temporarily unavailable at the Raleigh Hills Fred Meyer. February 29, 2020 (Courtesy Lane Jensen)

Some were stocking up on staples in case they had to stay home, while others were busy buying cleaning and sanitizing products. At different times throughout the day, stores such as Winco and Target were packed with people. A Washington County Winco was specifically running low on sanitizing wipes.

“I’ll admit, we only came for a few things, but somehow you pick up on a contagion of the crowd,” said Jim Kobylecky who was shopping at Winco when he stopped to talk.

He said he ran into a woman in the store who had taken the coronavirus preparations to heart.

“She was putting whole boxes of canned goods in her cart,” said Kobylecky. “So I just smiled and asked her if she was trying to stock up and her answer was, ‘I don’t plan to come back for a long time.'”

Continuing coverage on coronavirus here

Other shoppers shared photos of empty shelves where cold medicine, canned food, and bleach wipes are typically stocked. Even the supply of beef jerky had taken a hit at Winco.

Costco shoppers also noticed the difference. One man said the checkout lines took longer than usual, and even the express lane was running slow.

“Today is more crowded,” said Aloha resident Liam Nguyen. “They are running out of toilet paper.”

These shoppers may be heeding the warning that was issued by state health officials and Governor Kate Brown during a Friday evening press conference when the first case of the coronavirus in Oregon was announced.

“Now is the time, ahead of any potential emergency, that you have food, medicines, pet supplies, for a couple [of] weeks,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines at the press conference.

Kobylecky said that despite the concerns, people were polite in the crowded stores on Saturday.

Washing your hands and sanitizing is one of the best things you can do in this situation to avoid catching the virus. If you are buying hand sanitizer, state health officials said to make sure it has at least 60% alcohol.

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