Panic buying leads to massive lines at grocery stores as COVID-19 fear spreads
TORONTO -- It appears as though the latest spike in COVID-19 patients in Ontario has triggered another round of panic buying, with residents rushing to the grocery store to stockpile on supplies such as toilet paper and canned goods.
Concerned Ontarians turned to social media Thursday night to share photographs and videos of long lines at grocery stores. In some of the videos, there was no room for people to navigate from aisle to aisle. Each cart was packed with mounds of toilet paper, bottled water and canned goods.
Grocery stores like No Frills, FreshCo and Loblaw’s began to trend on Twitter in the early evening and continued throughout the night, with social media users pointing out that the lines not only blocked people from wandering the stores, but they also fully wrapped around aisles.
Some people had to wait in order to even gain access to the grocery store while others who had the patience to endure the wait times were met with empty shelves. One person said there was no toilet paper, rice, or pasta left at one FreshCo in Thornhill.
With the growing fear associated with the spread of COVID-19, which has been categorized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, people all over the country have been rushing the store to stock up on items they think they will need if they have to go into self-isolation. While health officials say it’s good to be prepared, most people only need one week’s worth of supplies.
"It's good to be prepared because things can change quickly," Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu said last week. "It's really about, first of all, making sure that you do have enough supplies so if someone in your family becomes ill, if you become ill, that you have what you need to survive for a week or so without going outside."
The phenomenon began to circulate on social media earlier this month as people in the United Stated and Canada crowded Costco for items like disinfection wipes, toilet paper, Spam and black beans.