Coronavirus reactions: California Grocers Association pleads with shoppers to stop overbuying

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the novel coronavirus outbreak has people purchasing certain products in mass quantities, the California Grocers Association has a message about panic buying.

"First I heard it was just going to be toilet paper," said Mike Foster who Arrived at his local Safeway in Foster City and found the shelves were empty of everything else too.

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The run on grocery stores is happening across the state, empty shelves, long lines and all of it unnecessary according to the California Grocers Association. The group represents hundreds of stores across the state including big chains like Costco.

"The main message is, there's plenty of food, there's plenty of supply but delivering it to our stores and trying to keep up with the buying patterns of hoarding and overbuying is an impossibility at this point," said Ron Fong, Ce and President of the group.

To meet demand, Safeway announced they are hiring immediately - 2,000 openings for stores in Northern California, Western Nevada and Hawaii region - including delivery drivers.

Fong wants to make it clear to shoppers, California's food distribution centers are ready for disaster.

"We have dealt with fires and earthquakes and natural disasters so we are set up in such a way that there is an abundance of freight and supplies in our distribution Centers."

Recognizing the problem, some grocery stores are coming up with their own solutions.

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At a Sobey's in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada, the store owner implemented hours just for senior shopping - in a cleaner, quieter environment. Same for a chain in Australia.

When I posted it on Twitter, it was retweeted, hundreds of times. Some tagging their local grocery store to do the same. Recently, Zannotto's Markets in San Jose posted on Facebook they're doing the same.

"I think that would be wonderful. All the younger people they're just knocking me out of the way," said Hershe Collins, a woman In her 70's who has been grocery store hopping looking for essentials.

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