Can stores handle another shopping surge as COVID-19 cases rise?

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — As the number of COVID-19 cases increase across the nation and our region, what are local grocers seeing regarding supplies of items like toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer and other items that were in short supply in the spring?

Grocers such as the managers at Gould’s Shur Save say they are well-stocked but add that they are seeing some supply issues starting to surface with some products.

Brent Radzwich stocks shelves at his family-run business in Conyngham. He says he tries to stay ahead of the COVID-19 curve when it comes to items such as toilet paper.

“As far as supplies, they look good right now but there are things we can’t get,” Radzwich told Eyewitness News. “We don’t have variety. We can’t get Clorox wipes right now, we can’t get disinfectant spray right now. I’m good on toilet paper and paper towels and napkins. There is a shortage out there.”

He says he has seen certain items like hand sanitizer flying off the shelves.

“For a couple days we were seeing people really buying up. It kind of slowed down a little bit,” Radzwich said.

Radzwich says he and other grocers connected to the Shur Save franchises are pretty much in the same situation and try to stay ahead of the game regarding ordering.

“We get a couple of deliveries a week so we are always just ordering not just a case, that we are ordering multiple cases hoping that something is going to come in, that keeps us looking good,” he explained.

Rose Cunfer, a shopper from Sugarloaf Township tells Eyewitness News she is not panicking but she is preparing for possible product shortages.

“Every time we are out we pick up some tissue, pick up toilet paper. We do use a lot of hand towels and stuff like that,” Cunfer said.

Alexis Sherti was also at the store buying the COVID-19 essentials.

“I feel definitely people are stocking up so it’s like a scary thing like you have to get out there and stock up,” Conyngham resident Alexis Sheeto said.

Eyewitness News reached out to other grocery store operations in the region including Wegmans where employees say they are well-stocked but they have placed purchase limits on certain items such as hand sanitizer. In most cases shoppers can only buy one at a time. 

The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees the nation’s food supply, reports there are no widespread shortages now or expected in the near future. 

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