Coronavirus Outbreak: Busy retail stores trying to keep products on shelves while ensuring worker, customer safety in Bay Area

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- Coronavirus fears are translating into more business and more money for your local stores. At the same time, they have to worry about shortages of certain items and keeping employees and customers safe.

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"There's been a little more frenetic energy around the shopping," Joe Trimble, the owner of Encinal Market in Alameda said on the impact coronavirus fears are having on business.

"Business has been good," Joe Trimble said. "I'm not super happy that it's good. I wish that it were a little bit calmer."

The store saw an 18% boost last week, and a 50% jump over a normal Wednesday yesterday. Most items are in ample supply.

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Customer Madeline Donovan says, "So far I think everything I needed is still here. I haven't check the toilet paper yet or the Purell."

The store can't keep Purell or anti-bacterial wipes in stock and can't get any from suppliers. As for toilet paper, shelves were completely full this morning. This afternoon maybe 40% was left.

There was no toilet paper on site at the Costco on Monument Boulevard in Concord.

Retailers are working hard to keep their places as safe as possible. A Trader Joes in Concord greeted customers with antibacterial wipes as they walked in.

Sports Basement in Berkeley put out extra hand sanitizing stations.

Director of Operations Aaron Schweifler says business here has also been good.

"We are cautiously optimistic that people are going about their business normally," Schweifler said.

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Jesse MacEwan was shopping for sneakers with his three kids.

"You've got to live," McEwan said. "You know the economy has got to keep going somehow. But I also think you just gotta do your part to keep clean."

Stores are currently doing their part to keep necessities on shelves but, Joe Trimble at Encinal Market also realizes that a sick employee or enough sick customers could shutter the business - at least for a while.

"I don't think we're there yet but it's definitely something that runs through my mind," Trimble said.

Community Journalist Melissa Pixcar visited many East Bay stores to find out what people were buying.

Stores in Concord and Walnut creek were prepared for the amount of people who were going to buy toilet paper and water. Clerks told Pixcar that their stores were receiving shipments overnight.

Follow her adventure to see which shops were stocked with paper goods, and sold out on cleaning supplies here.

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