Some Red Deer-area grocery store shelves are sparse when it comes to toilet paper, as more people prepare for the coronavirus.
Hand sanitizer is another item that is harder to find in the city.
About two weeks ago, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu suggested that people stockpile food and medication in case they, or a family member, get sick and need to stay at home under quarantine.
Canadian social media posts have described “pandemonium” at some bulk-buying stores, such as Costco, as people stocked up on toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and groceries.
“We were at Costco on Friday and I think we were the only cart in the store that didn’t have toilet paper in it. Everybody had toilet paper. The cashier even said to us, ‘you’re not buying toilet paper?’” said Tammy Waugh, of Red Deer, about Costco in Gasoline Alley.
She said it was hard to tell if the stocking up on toilet paper was due to the coronavirus, or because people just like buying in bulk.
“We’ve been paying attention to the newscasts and trying to keep ourselves educated and informed, but we haven’t changed how we’re doing anything.”
The Bower Place customer said her family hasn’t bought masks or extra toilet paper. Instead, the focus is on regular handwashing.
It’s a message her grandchildren hear often at school, so much so, they are getting tired of the reminder, but it’s good to know handwashing is a focus at schools, she said.
Ken Baltimore, of Red Deer, said he bought masks on Sunday from Canadian Tire, but hasn’t picked up any other supplies.
“Until it hits Red Deer, I’m not going to get too excited,” Baltimore said.
He said his son and daughter-in-law in Ontario have had a difficult time finding supplies, but he has not heard of the same concerns in Red Deer.
A Red Deer County resident at Bower Place said it’s kind of silly to stockpile.
“People I know are not doing that. But that doesn’t mean people in Red Deer are not doing that,” said the county homeowner, who did not want to use her name.
She said Canada has a good health-care system to protect citizens, so the public should be fine.
Super Valu manager Ali Abbas said in the past two or three days, more people have been coming to his corner store to buy hand sanitizer, tissue, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.
A few new customers have also stopped by to shop.
He was ordering more supplies on Monday, but was not sure how much will be sent.
Abbas said his family is also preparing. He wants to have medication readily available for his young children in case they get sick.
— with files from The Canadian Press