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Coronavirus: Stores across Salt Lake Valley see empty shelves amid COVID-19 concerns

Posted at 9:25 PM, Mar 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 16:16:56-05

SALT LAKE CITY – As concerns of coronavirus continue to grow, stores across the Salt Lake Valley are seeing empty shelves and a run on supplies.

Lines backed up into store aisles with carts piled high Saturday as shoppers across the Salt Lake Valley experienced a ‘mad dash’ on area stores, leaving shelves bare and stock low.

“The pandemic scare, panic buying right here folks, this is what it looks like,” Utah resident Sam Parker said as he filmed the inside of Murray Costco on Saturday morning.

Parker continued to walk around the store, filming cart after cart stacked with cases of water and toilet paper.

“Oh, why are they sold out of water? Because of this guy,” he joked as he pointed his camera to a cart over-flowing with cases of water.

Among the items in high demand: water, toilet paper, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer.

“This is the water section at Smith’s in West Jordan,” one woman said in a message to FOX 13 alongside a picture of empty store shelves. “The whole section is empty like this. People are freaking out about coronavirus.”

The run on supplies has been seen nationwide. Even though, on Thursday, the CDC told congress healthy adults do not need to stock up on supplies.

All the while, many Asian-influenced stores and restaurants continue to report a slight downfall in business.

“There’s always going to be stress being a business owner, an Asian business owner,” said Andrew So, owner of Chinatown Super Market in South Salt Lake.

So said since concerns of the virus have continued to escalate, they are seeing an impact. However, their rush hasn’t been on water or toilet paper, but on rice.

“There is maybe a rumor spearing that there is a shortage on certain items, rice, meat or anything that is imported from other Asian countries – so people try to stock up with these items,” So said.

Even though 20 to 30 percent of their inventory comes from China, So said they are not concerned of shortages.

“There’s no delay in the shipments,” So said. “Even if we didn’t get anything from any suppliers, we could support local demand for two weeks.”

So also urges customers, there is no need for concern.

“There’s no need to panic, there’s no need to stop using rice, canned goods and other Asian products,” So continued.