Getting early hurricane supplies imperative during pandemic

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
FILE: Empty store shelves. (Credit: WINK News)

Shelves are wiped out week after week, forcing limits on the number of items you can buy at a time when Southwest Florida is getting ready to stock up.

We spoke to community members and an expert, who offers advice, about preparing for hurricane season during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There was still areas that were, I think pretty, low, like your meats, deli meats and frozen vegetables,” Shelia Stewart said.

Signs are still up that notify customers about limits to what they can take.

Grocery stores are dealing with increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Allen bell says he’s ready for the 2020 hurricane season.

“We stock up gradually throughout the year … bottled water, cans of LPS, charcoal for barbecue,” Bell said.

Dr. Ben Ruddell with Northern Arizona University recommends getting ready ahead of schedule.

“We already have a supply chain that’s spread thin,” Ruddell said. “And you might not be able to get what you need when that hurricane is coming at you, so prepare now.”

Ruddell studies supply chains across the United States. He says, because every state is dealing with the pandemic, they might not have supplies to share with Florida.

“It’s very predictable that your recovery from a big hurricane this year is going to take a lot longer than it normally does, which means people need to be prepared for that,” Ruddell said. “They need to have more food, more water, more gasoline.”

Some shoppers worry the shelves will never be full.

“I think it will be pretty scarce all the way through the hurricane season,” Stewart said.

But they’re still gearing up as best they can.

“As prepared as can be,” Bell said. “No one is 100 percent.”

Publix told us the grocery store chain starts preparing for hurricane season well in advance. The company says it will be ready to meet the demand.

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