Stores Begin to Reimpose Purchase Limits on Toilet Paper in Wake of New Coronavirus Lockdowns

Meanwhile, politicians are decrying the panic-buying their policies have inspired.

As Coronavirus Task Force member and general pandemic nuisance Dr. Anthony Fauci presses Americans to “do what they’re told,” there is a clear sign that people are preparing for stricter coronavirus lockdowns.

Toilet paper is beginning to fly off the shelves. Of course, the state officials who are imposing these new restrictions are the first to decry the panic-buying they have inspired.

In announcing new statewide restrictions aimed at reducing the spike in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday urged people not to hoard “supplies.”

“Buying up everything really hurts everybody,” Inslee said, “and there’s no necessity of it right now.”

But while the man didn’t specifically call out toilet paper, the toilet paper sure did call to shoppers.

At some Seattle stores on Sunday, in a throwback to earlier days of the pandemic, people were already buying up stacks of bathroom tissue, which seems to turn to spun gold when things look grim.

Costco ran out of the stuff over the weekend, and there was none to be found Sunday at the Safeway on Madison Street in Seattle, or the QFC on Rainier Avenue South.


Stores are bringing back the purchase limits for certain products, which were lifted after the curve was completely flattened.

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the U.S., has imposed purchase limits on essential goods like bath tissue, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap, according to Fox Business.

“To ensure all customers have access to what they need, we’ve proactively and temporarily set purchase limits to two per customer on certain products,” a spokesperson told the network.

The new limits will apply both to in-store purchases and those made online. Consumers are expected to stock up on essential goods as autumn turns to winter and a worsening of the virus is anticipated.

Publix, a chain that operates mainly in the South, imposed restrictions last week on paper towels and bath tissue. This was in response to high demand from customers, according to Progressive Grocer. Limits on the quantity that can be purchased is based on individual stores.

Many consumer goods and food suppliers are stepping up production, hoping to prevent shortages.

…[M]ajor food companies – including Campbell Soup CPB.N, Kraft Heinz KHC.O and McCormick & Co MKC.N – told Reuters or have said publicly that they have taken measures like changing their production, packaging or pricing so retailers can keep shelves stocked.

Their steps include expanding manufacturing, hiring more workers, re-routing products from restaurants to grocery stores, and turning to bigger pack sizes. Many of their moves came at a high financial cost.

Economists say shoppers realize they can’t afford to overspend, and therefore, aren’t likely to make binge purchases.

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Author: Leslie Eastman