Mayor’s order leads to panic shopping

Mad rush for supplies could leave vulnerable people behind; please be considerate.

About an hour before the mayor’s announcement that six Bay Area counties are under a shelter-at-home order, word leaked out – and people started to jam the stores.

Long lines formed in front of Good Life Grocery and Safeway in my neighborhood; same thing is happening all over the city.

Shoppers wait in line to get into Whole Foods. Photo: https://twitter.com/akaback/status/1239658708134547457

This is just panic, in its worst form: The shut-down-and-stay-home order does not affect grocery stores and does not prevent people from doing necessary shopping. For now, restaurants can offer take-out food.

Some stores are trying really hard to keep up; at a corner market near me, staffers were pulling canned goods out of the storage rooms and trying to help the people queued up in the aisles.

I am told that many stores have plenty of stock, but lack the employees to bring it out and put it on the shelves (since so many have to play bouncer at the door). Safeway is looking to hire more than 2,000 people, so there’s work out there – union work — for people who are looking.

A long line just to get into Safeway.

I don’t think we should be acting like this. We are all going to get through it; you don’t need 400 rolls of toilet paper.

Please be considerate of your friends and neighbors. The stores aren’t rationing, so the ones who get there first and are strong enough to stand in line for hours can take all the necessities and there won’t be enough left for others.

If you know people who are vulnerable, please be in touch and make sure they are okay. If you have extra food and they don’t, then share.

Meanwhile, stay home and stay safe and keep in mind that you can still go to the store tomorrow since the order the order doesn’t cover them.

Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.