South Florida shoppers stock up on supplies amid coronavirus preparations

MIAMI SHORES, FLA. (WSVN) - Shoppers across South Florida who have made their way to supermarkets and other large retailers have encountered some empty shelves, long lines and earlier closing times, as the country continues to hold off a major coronavirus outbreak.

Cellphone video captured nearly empty shelves along an entire aisle at the Publix in Miami Shores, Sunday.

It was a similar situation at the Publix in Aventura.

“It’s packed. Everybody is, like, out for themselves,” said a shopper who identified herself as Lauren. “People need to slow down for a little bit. Be kind.”

“End of the aisle,” said another shopper.

“I think people are crazy,” said another shopper.

“It’s extremely apocalyptic,” said another shopper.

The Whole Foods store in North Miami has been cleared out of meat, chips and even yogurt.

“No produce, no fresh food,” said another shopper. “Everyone is going crazy for the tuna, the produce, the fresh food. The orange juice is even gone.”

A Hialeah grocery store was also fresh out of meat, but some soap and paper products remained on the shelves.

At other stores across Miami-Dade and Broward, there were no paper towels and toilet paper, and canned goods were few and far in between.

The Publix in Miami Shores was even sold out of firewood and charcoal.

Even though some shelves were empty, staff members at these stores are working to restock items as quickly as possible.

At the Bravo Supermarket in Northwest Miami-Dade, however, it was business as usual, with shelves stocked full with fresh produce, canned goods, soaps and cleaning products.

In a video message posted online on Sunday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez addressed the public demand for certain items currently in high demand.

“There’s no need to panic. There’s no need to rush. This is not like a hurricane where the supply chain may be disrupted,” he said. “We have plenty of gasoline, we have electricity. When you need to go to the store, go to the store and buy what you need.”

“We are not seeing any supply chain issues,” said Jared Moskowitz with the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “The stores are constantly restocking.”

Publix shopper Aurel Nistor said he is not panicking.

“I don’t think it is necessary to do that because probably the supply is there, so I don’t see any reason to go in and buy stuff unnecessarily,” he said, “for example, like, toilet paper and all the other stuff.”

“I’m not that hesitant. As long as I stay reasonably away and don’t go out all the time,” said Publix shopper Hershall Pollack. “I think, if you stay away from hundreds of people, you’re probably OK. I can’t stay home all the time, and I do need to go shopping sometimes, so no, I’m not that hesitant.”

Shopper Orit Mizrachi was seen wearing what appeared to be blue latex gloves as she brought her cart out of the store.

“I did already the shopping. I just protect myself, so I put the gloves on,” she said, “just not to get sick or bacterial or whatever.”

Close to its 8 p.m. closing time, the Publix in Aventura was out of pasta but still had other non-perishables in stock. Publix stores reopened Monday at 7 a.m.

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