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Officials warn against ‘panic buying’ as COVID-19 rules tighten

Panic buying appears to be returning in some areas where COVID-19 restrictions are being tightened.

In the aftermath of Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement on new coronavirus restrictions, grocery stores in the Seattle area are seeing an increase in shoppers who are stocking up.

Inslee’s plan calls for 25 percent capacity at in-person retailers, including grocery stores, just as they enter one of the busiest times of the year for shopping.

The toilet paper section was decimated at several Washington grocery stores, and many grocery chains are putting a limit on several key items.

“We’ve got plenty of food in the supply chain but we need people to buy what they need right now,” Quality Food Center representative Tiffany Sanders explained.

The restrictions mean some shoppers were getting their Thanksgiving dinner supplies early.

“Normally they would have waited until a few days before Thanksgiving. I think a lot of people are trying to get it done now and make sure they have everything they need,” Sanders said.

There were reports of long lines at checkout and lines just to get into stores at several Costco warehouses around western Washington.