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Panic Buyers Clean Out Grocery Stores, Experts Stress Supply Chain Is Healthy

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — The panic to buy groceries during the coronavirus pandemic has cleaned out store shelves. But there is no reason for it, say experts.

"It's frustrating to stand out in the cold just to get to the market to buy something," said one man standing outside the Winco in Roseville on Tuesday.

The line there was more than an hour long.

"One gentleman told me he went to Walmart and the store shelves were all empty," said another man. "People [are] buying too much. It's crazy!"

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After seeing images of empty store shelves, shoppers became frantic searching for supplies. Many were stocking up as they heed state and federal authorities to, in essence, self-quarantine for two weeks.

"This crisis has changed shopping patterns and behaviors for normal consumers," said Ron Fong with the California Grocers Association.

Fong says there are plenty of food and supplies.

"There really is no need to buy for three months. It is not necessary," Fong said. "Our supply chain is safe and it's healthy."

He says the supply chain cannot keep up with demand the way people are buying today because it is bottle-knocking distribution.

"Normally, we would get a load every night. But because of overbuying, some stores need three loads a day to keep up with demand," Fong said.

And he says the strain of deep cleaning has impacted stores' abilities to restock.

"Because we have such high volumes of customers, stores want to make sure it's cleaned properly - and that kind of sanitation is a big project daily."

For that reason, some stores are shutting down early each night.

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