Grocery stores in South Surrey’s Grandview Corners were tapped Friday morning, following Thursday’s announcement of increased COVID-19 prevention measures by the provincial government.
Shelves typically lined with toilet paper and other tissue products were all-but-bare in Walmart by 9:30 a.m., while stocks of the same at the Real Canadian Superstore across the street were not far behind.
In Superstore, the rush on toilet paper was described by one woman as “ridiculous,” while a staffer said he’d never seen the store so busy. Shoppers were queuing partway down the dairy aisle – located at the store’s south end – triaged by a pair of employees who directed them to specific lineups as spaces opened up.
Many shoppers had carts loaded with flats of water, paper towels and bulk packages of tissue paper. Others filled up on canned goods, pasta and packages of ground meat.
South Surrey senior Lorne Holyoak saw the store lines and walked out empty-handed, noting there wasn’t anything he needed that badly.
Rob and Sarah Thibault were among those who ventured into the store, but said their trip was triggered by the law of supply-and-demand, not by panic.
“It’s kind of like insurance,” Rob told Peace Arch News, of why they waited in line for 35 minutes to pay for their cart-load of canned goods, water and bread-making supplies.
As demand increases, supplies are going to diminish, and “if you go without, the cost is just too high,” he said.
“It’s just basic math,” he said, adding that the couple, who have a two-year-old daughter, plan to donate whatever extras they have to the food bank once the worry is over.
“We’re not panicked at all,” said Sarah.
“If you’re already healthy, you’re going to be OK.”
Lisa Bellanger, manager of Treehouse Child Development Centre in White Rock, also ventured to Superstore Friday. She said she, too, is not panicking, but “I want to be able to feed my family.”
At the child-care centre, she has cancelled field trips to places like Science World, and is encouraging even more handwashing amongst her young charges.
“I’m not panicked, I’m just being commonsensical,” she said.