Grocers prepare for Thanksgiving shopping rush amid COVID-19 pandemic

Hartford

NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — With some retailers imposing limits on purchases of paper goods and cleaning supplies in other states, News 8 checked in on Connecticut standby Stew Leonard’s to see how they are dealing with concerns over panic buying during the second COVID-19 wave, especially as shoppers prep for Thanksgiving.

“We just had to increase the order again,” said Stew Leonard, Jr. 

With downsizing turkey dinners, there’s a rush on 15-pounders as families limit the size of gatherings. But while you may want to get the smaller birds a little sooner, there’s plenty of sides and small platters to go around.

“Apple pie, pumpkin pie, we’re doing half pies too. We’re noticing an increase in this,” said Leonard Jr.

He recommends consumers get the staples early, such as the pumpkin filling, and the fixings for your green bean casserole, so shoppers can spend less time getting the fresh meat, seafood and fruits and vegetables next week.

“Get that big pantry stuff done now, your spices, anything that’s not perishable and then come in Tuesday and Wednesday for the perishable stuff so you can get in and out quick,” said Leonard Jr.

As for those items some retailers are setting purchase limits on — toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies — Stew’s says they’ve got plenty of stock, and are not imposing any limits.

“We’re going to have toilet paper, it may not be the name brand like Clorox or Bounty towel. when that comes in people grab it and run out. But we have a backup, so full shelves at Stew Leonards,” said Leonard, Jr. 

Leonard says the supply chain has adapted since the first COVID wave, and so have grocery stores. He’s not seeing shortages, and no repeats from the spring of empty shelves.

“We’ve sort of done our own panic buying. Going out to all the markets, got extra of everything so our buildings are going to be stuffed at Stew Leonard’s with product.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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