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Coronavirus Update: Shoppers Begin Hoarding Products Like Bottled Water, Hand Sanitizer, Canned Goods

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As fears surrounding coronavirus spread around the world, here at home, many people are starting to worry that basic necessities will sell out in the event of an epidemic.

That's why some have started stockpiling in the event of an emergency, CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reported Monday.

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At a Costco in Teterboro, N.J., Pam Bruno was stocking up. She got 10 cases of water and, "I bought the paper towels just in case. They run out fast in my house, and toilet paper."

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Her daughter is pregnant, so she's stockpiling in case the coronavrius continues to spread around the country. She added the reason why she's loading up on supplies is because "New York City got hit."

She's not the only one.

Inside Costco, lines of shoppers were grabbing essentials. Next door at Walmart, shelves usually filled with bottled water and hand wipes sat bare. And in Manhattan at Morton Williams, shoppers were on high alert.

"We may have to be staying home and we may not be able to shop," shopper Phyllis Topol said.

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Latest | Guidance For Travelers | NY Health Dept. | NY Hotline: 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Department Of Health Guidance For Parents | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Hotline: 1-(800)-222-1222

Morton Williams supervisor Orlando Olave said business was up 10% this weekend as a result of coronavirus fears.

"As you can see everything is empty," Olave said. "What's going the most is water, canned soups, canned goods, fruits, that's also going. Canned tuna is going fast. Anything that's in a can that you can heat up is going fast."

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Morton Williams said after running out of hand sanitizer last week, it restocked all 16 of its locations with a total of 700 new cases. But by the end of weekend, those, too, were gone.

Still, many shoppers said they're not worried.

"There haven't been that many cases in New York and I think everyone is panicking," Pat Peters said.


"The best thing people can do is just be reasonable and take precautions that we take in everyday life, wash your hands and if you're not feeling well, don't go outside," retired Middlesex County health executive Bob Kiely added.

But Bruno disagrees.

"You prepare, you get ready. You buy the items you need and if it comes, it comes. If it doesn't, you still have a lot of water," Bruno said.

She said it's better to be safe than sorry.

CBS2 reached out to various retailers. Walmart said it is working with its suppliers to solve any supply chain disruptions.


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