Despite President Trump’s statement Americans should not be hoarding household items, the coronavirus pandemonium is majorly affecting the community as many people rush out to the stores every day to stock up on household items in bulk. 

While many people are set to survive any epidemic that may occur, others are struggling to find the items they need to sustain themselves and their families on a daily basis.

Local big brand stores are completely running out of items like baby wipes, paper products and cleaning supplies, leaving those who are considered part of the at-risk population struggling to secure their most needed items.

“It’s just nuts,” said a Smart and Final customer as she left the store on Monday morning. 

Locally, stores are in a state of pure chaos. People are lining up outside of the stores before they even open, and check out lines are painfully long. Stores have been restocking daily, but the demand for certain items is so much higher than the supply it’s proving to be difficult to keep those items from flying off of the shelves. 

Baby wipes, toilet paper, napkins, tissues, bleach, feminine hygiene products, laundry detergent and water are just a few items that seem to be unavailable or extremely limited in Porterville. Food items like milk, eggs, tortillas, bread, flour, rice, beans, fresh meat and canned tuna are also in limited supply throughout stores in the city. Food-4-Less, a local grocery store that is usually open 24-hours, has even begun to limit their hours of operation from 7 a.m to 10 p.m, and many of the stores are limiting some items to a specific quantity. For example, Smart and Final had limited shoppers to a single carton of eggs per customer as of Monday. As of Monday Food 4 Less had limited the quantity of multiple items including milk, rice and beans.

While all of these items remain out of stock or nearly gone, several groups of people are being affected by the lack of accessibility to the items they need. Elderly people can’t buy milk or eggs, parents with children in diapers can’t buy baby wipes or formula, and in-home caretakers who tend to those with developmental disabilities are struggling to secure the items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies they need to care for their loved ones and patients. Stores were also limiting customers to one package of toilet paper.

At Walmart the situation looked somewhat better on Monday afternoon as the store was stocked with milk and had a limited supply of bread.

Several guidelines as to how to prevent the virus have been issued including washing your hands frequently and staying out of close contact with other people. Rushing to the stores, where many people are going, seems to defeat that purpose.

On Sunday afternoon California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted the following: “Those that are 65 and older or vulnerable to COVID-19 must practice home isolation. Bars, night clubs, wineries, and breweries should close in CA. Restaurants — focus on takeout for those isolating. Maximize social distancing. We’re working in real time to secure hotels, motels, and trailers to house our homeless safely and protect our communities and the spread of COVID-19. We must protect our most vulnerable to COVID-19 and ensure essential parts of our society can keep functioning like: Our healthcare system, grocery stores, pharmacies, social service providers, and that people who can continue to work safely and remain productive can do so.”

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