THE REVERE ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020 Page 5 Supermarkets packed as nervous shoppers face COVID-19 threat Stop & Shop say’s stocks will be replenished; health, safety prioritized By Tara Vocino W ith the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) well underway, grocery stores in Malden and nationwide are affected with long lines and some empty shelves. At Stop & Shop supermarkets in Malden, Revere, Saugus and Everett last Friday afternoon, the story was the same: Lines were long, and food staples normally sought for blizzards, such as dairy and meat, were being replaced by eggs, toilet paper and hand sanitizer leaving store shelves temporarily empty. But store managers say everyone should remain calm as supplies will be replenished immediately. “Some health and beauty care products as well as cleaning products – including Purell hand sanitizer and Lysol disinfecting wipes – are limited in supply on a national level,” Stop & Shop External Communications and Community Relations Manager Maria Fruci wrote in an email last Friday night. “At this time, fixed amounts of those products are being distributed to U.S. retailers.” Simultaneously, Stop & Shop’s sales trends were boosted localThe Everett Stop & Shop was swamped with customers last Friday afternoon. (Advocate Photo by Christopher Roberson) ly as well as nationally. “Stop & Shop is seeing increased sales on items, like hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, Lysol sprays, bleach, antibacterial soap and other cleaning products, along with non-perishable items, like rice, canned soups, canned vegetables, and pasta sauce,” Fruci wrote. Despite rising sales, their top priority is the safety and health of associates and customers. Stop & Shop has amplified its cleaning and sanitizing efforts to ensure customers can shop with confidence. “Upon entering all our stores, disinfecting wipes are available near the entrance, and customers are welcome to wipe down carriages, hand baskets, and ScanIt! devices before use,” Fruci wrote. “Our associates are frequently wiping down selfservice locations and checkout areas with disinfectant – this includes the belts and pin pads at our registers.” Besides routine handwashing and hand sanitizing, the store has suspended food sampling programs, in-store events, and community solicitation until further notice. Per company policy, local managers couldn’t be interThe egg shelves were bare except for this sole container containing broken eggshells. (Advocate Photo by Tara Vocino) viewed or photographed. Fruci couldn’t say whether customers were friendlier because of the lull or hyped up out of fear. But she did say that they do their best to support customers while keeping them safe and healthy. Customer Ed Anglin, who said he didn’t feel any panic, said there was a shortage of white vinegar and cleaning supplies, but overall, that the store was in good shape. He just returned from Venezuela and noticed people coughing in the airports. Many Stop & Shop customers had masks on. As far as toilet paper and other necessities, Fruci went on to say that the store is in close contact with suppliers, and as soon as quantities become available to Stop & Shop, associates will work quickly to restock shelves and make them available to customers. “We’re also working swiftly to identify similar, alternative products and brands that may be available in the marketplace to ensure our customers have access to the items for which they are looking,” Fruci wrote. “In many cases, manufacturers are also ramping up productions.”

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