JASPER, Ala. (WIAT) — Many small and locally-owned grocery stores are also scrambling to keep shelves full as neighbors attempt to stock up on supplies.
While President Donald Trump has cautioned against hoarding and buying too much, people across the country continue to flood grocery stores in search of items like paper products, food, and water.
At Son’s Supermarket in Jasper, some shoppers told CBS 42 they were preparing in case they needed to ‘hunker down’ at home for an extended period of time.
Meanwhile, Son’s employees have been working hard to keep items in stock.
“It’s been crazy. It’s been like you’re running around here like a chicken with your head cut off,” said Brandon Wallace, an employee at Son’s.
In a smaller community like Jasper, Wallace doesn’t see too many strangers. He knows the groceries he’s re-stocking could go a long way for people he knows.
“I’ve been here for 15 years, so I know most of the customer’s that come in here and have a personal relationship with them and you want to try to help them out,” said Wallace.
Beeps from busy cash registers served as background music for customers and employees Monday. The store received 2 truck loads to replenish what was purchased over the weekend.
“This weekend is something like I have never seen before,” Store Manager Terry Merchant continued. “Most people know what it is like for a snow day, double that, or maybe triple that.”
Merchant said his team is pulling from two warehouses. He gets at least one truck in per day.
“Working extra hours, working overtime,” said Merchant.
Merchant said workers sanitize the checkout area and are constantly cleaning.
While it may be hard for shoppers and employees to practice social distancing, crews are keeping safe.
“I have hand sanitzer with me. I am using it whenever I can,” said Wallace.
With students out of school and some neighbors not working amid COVID-19 concerns, shopping lists may be a bit longer as people are encouraged to stay home and avoid crowds.
While some businesses may consider closing in the days to come, employees at grocery stores are preparing to play an important role for neighbors in need.
“It warms my heart to actually be able to help people as much as I can,” said Wallace.
Some large grocery chains have had to reduce hours during the pandemic, but employees at smaller stores said they are often staying late to make sure customers have what they need.