Philadelphia-area stores stock up as new COVID restrictions set to begin Friday

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As more coronavirus restrictions are set to begin Friday, there seem to be fewer paper products on the shelves of stores.

"Last night at work someone said that they went to three different places to try and find toilet paper," said Justine Speranzo, of Roxborough.

There was a plentiful supply at Acme in Bala Cynwyd with signs posted "limit one per customer." But shelves were bare at Target in Cherry Hill, Vorhees, and Wynnefield Heights

Lines could be seen forming once again outside Shoprite in Roxborough ahead of new limitations on the number of shoppers based on store square footage, a city-wide mandate which starts on Friday.

"It says people are freaking out again, and I hope it's also saying that Shoprite is taking extra precautions," said Christopher Driscoll, of Roxborough.

An end to indoor dining in Philadelphia is also soon approaching.

"That will send people back into the grocery store and back into their homes," said Doug Baker.
Baker, the vice president of Industry Relations for the Food Industry Association, said grocers have stocked up for this moment, taking cues from last spring.

"Many retailers were preparing for what they knew was going to happen again in the winter - on top of two of our major eating holidays of the year - so many of our retailers were forward buying, filling their warehouses, filling their stores up," said Baker.

He also notes, buying habits have changed since the beginning of the pandemic, with less "panic buying" than in the spring.

"People were really worried about the unknown. They really didn't know, 'Will my grocery store be open tomorrow? Will I be able to get out of my house?' So shoppers are a lot smarter this time around," said Baker.

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