How COVID-19 affects consumers and supermarkets in Hays

BY DANYANG YUAN

As the number of people infected with COVID-19 continues to increase, the supply of goods in supermarkets faces some challenges.

In Hays, the situation at Walmart SuperCenter has changed. Their masks and disinfectants have been out of stock for a long time. If shoppers go at night, they will find some shelves are almost empty, especially water and paper towels

“Walmart staff told me that they have enough inventories, and he said we don’t need to panic. The reason the shelves are empty is that customers are catching too fast and they don’t have enough time to replenish the goods,” FHSU graduate student Yahui Hou said. “Last week, my friends and I got up early and reached out to Walmart and asked them about their inventory. But flour was still out of stock.”

Hou has had better success with Dillons being stocked with groceries and goods.

“Compared to Walmart, Dillons is well-stocked,” Hou said. “When we arrived at Dillons in the morning, we found the staff was stocking. Groceries not seen at Walmart the other day were available in Dillons. But they don’t have hand sanitizer, either.”

For international students who do not have a ride, FHSU has a Tiger Transport for them. It runs from 2 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, departing from campus, passing Big Creek Crossing to Walmart, and returning to campus. Now, affected by the virus, the time has been adjusted to 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

“As international students, we do not have a ride, and it is not convenient to go to the supermarket. And we don’t know what will happen next, so we buy groceries as much as possible,” Hou said.

For some local students who have a ride, they will not stock up too much at once, but they will also go to Walmart earlier to buy groceries.

Now, the situation at Walmart is much better than before. Shoppers can see paper towels on shelves in the morning. Other shelves are also full of goods. Flour is still a problem though.

Although the quantity of these items is not enough to make the shelves look as full as a week ago, the products are still flowing to the store continuously. 

“It’s a calming influence that toilet paper is coming in every day,” Walmart Corporate Assistant Manager Hamish Benson said in a press release

“We are working hard to get the supplies and products you need on our store shelves. We are replenishing our stores daily with the supplies and products our customers need most. And our dedicated robust supply chain is working tirelessly around the clock to ensure this happens,” said Rodney McMullen, CEO of Dillons in an online statement

For more information, visit https://corporate.walmart.com/coronavirus and https://www.dillons.com/

In other cities in the United States, such as San Antonio, Costco had not been open, and there was a long line at the door. After opening the door, hundreds of shopping carts were pushed out. The staff had to let people enter in batches in order to limit the flow of passengers, and to ensure customers who came in had a shopping cart. 

In addition to sterilized products, drinking water and paper, things such as rice noodles, canned foods and frozen foods can be stored, as well as eggs, milk, meat, fresh vegetables and fruits.

Other countries have also published policies to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic of Europe announced a national blockade. More than 20 countries around the world have entered a state of emergency, accounting for approximately 10% of all countries in the world. Some European governments have banned all public assemblies, banned the free movement of unnecessary people and isolated themselves at home.

“In London, hygienic supplies in offline supermarkets are basically out of stock. There has been a queue of grabbing paper towels at the supermarket door in the morning. Meat, eggs, canned food and instant food are even more out of stock,” Xi Su, who is an international graduate student in University College London, told Sina News.

People in Australia face the same situation. Many residents in New South Wales of Australia have also started hoarding necessities. Paper towels, food, masks, disinfectants and medicines are the most popular. Some citizens go to the supermarket nearly every night, but they can only buy in small amounts, and paper towels are hardly available. In addition to work, purchasing daily necessities is also a part of local people’s daily life.

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