Oregonians brace for COVID-19 surge, rush stores

While some will label shoppers as “panic buyers,” others say they’re just staying prepared.

Posted: Nov 16, 2020 6:35 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- As Oregonians prepare for the two-week freeze that begins Wednesday, many say they are having flashbacks of long lines and bare shelves from March and April.


KEZI 9 News spoke to shoppers Monday to find out how they’re feeling and what their game plan is this time around.

Eugene resident Andrea Stoe said she woke up prepared, drank her morning coffee, but didn't expect the sight she saw.

“I was actually kind of surprised,” Stoe said. “I waited to come here until a weekday morning before the freeze started. I thought I would have better luck if I got here right when it opened with finding a parking spot. I was really surprised that the parking lot was full when I got here. It was about 10 minutes after opening, and there was a big line out the door and toward the tire center.”

Stoe, who braved the Costco rush Monday, said people were nice and understanding of one another, even after some waited in line for hours.

“I think we’re all traumatized honestly,” Stoe said. “The first time we experienced this everybody went out and got toilet paper. I feel like the people that didn't get toilet paper last time are getting their toilet paper now.”

While some will label shoppers as “panic buyers,” others believe they’re just staying prepared.

Many said they don’t understand why people take more than they need, since stores like Costco, Safeway and Winco won’t be shutting down entirely.

Others shared that as coronavirus cases increase, anxiety does too and recalled the various items that were quickly stripped from store shelves by buyers at the beginning of the pandemic. They said they’re not taking any chances.

“We drive up from Yachats every five or six weeks, and this is just our regular schedule,” Yachats resident JR Reynolds said. “I’m hoping we can get toilet paper, but I haven't seen anybody bring it out.”

Unfortunately, many shared that the toilet paper shelves were bare Monday afternoon at Costco in Eugene.

“I don't think it will be as crazy as it was last time,” Reynolds said. “I’m on the coast. I’ll take what I can get.”

Beginning on Wednesday, grocery stores, pharmacies and retail stores will be limited to 75% capacity.

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