Grocery Stores Prep for Pandemic Holidays
While the coronavirus pandemic rages across the country, two major U.S. holidays are just around the corner. And one of those holidays, Thanksgiving to be exact, centers around family gatherings and food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that people should refrain from traveling and that only those who share the same household should gather for the festivities. However, AAA still projects that 50 million Americans will hit the road to visit family, though it is a 5 million decrease from last year.
Grocery stores have been strained since the pandemic began, first seeing a mad dash for toilet paper and disinfectant in March. A race for the best turkeys and hams is nothing new this time of year, but coronavirus has made shopping more complicated. For one, many families have chosen to downsize their gatherings and therefore may not need a 30lb dinosaur-turkey resting at the center of the dinner table. The alternative would be to purchase a smaller bird, but that may be a harder task to accomplish this year.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, L.A. butcher, Jered Standing, says he has seen the demand for smaller turkeys firsthand, "Nine out of 10 people want the small birds. I tried to get more — people are calling every day. They’re just not available." Standing's sentiments are reflected across the country as states like Colorado, Michigan, Massachusetts, and New York all report a high demand for turkeys under ten pounds, but suppliers fear they may not be able to meet those demands.
Another threat looming over grocery stores is the return of panic buying. According to a Reuters article, as of November 20, "22 states have imposed restrictions aimed at decreasing spread of the virus - giving rise to a new round of panic buying from shoppers and purchase limits from retailers including Target and Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain."
In an effort to combat panic buying, retailers are imposing limits on essentials like cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Still, shoppers are already reporting vacant aisles and empty shelves.