Empty shelves, massive lineups: Panic buying hits Metro Vancouver stores
VANCOUVER -- In the hours after B.C. announced dramatic steps it was taking to address the COVID-19 pandemic, worried shoppers seemingly flocked to Metro Vancouver stores to stock up on supplies.
Outside Surrey Costco Friday morning, a crowd of hundreds waited for the wholesale store to open.
"Apparently everybody's here for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Apparently there's a pandemic going on now. People are pretty much panicking and getting all chaotic over it," Tyler Dalling told CTV News Vancouver from outside the store.
"It's kind of ridiculous. We should be helping each other, not really fighting each other for it."
For John Botelho, who was at Costco for his regular grocery shopping, the situation inside the store was shocking.
"I've never seen anything this stupid in my whole life," he said. "We came for a few groceries just to top off what we need. We're not hoarding anything because I don't see any need in it. How much do you need?"
Botelho said the toilet paper aisle was "completely surrounded."
But it wasn't just Costco that saw significant lineups. The Superstore in North Vancouver had a line for the checkouts that snaked through the store and down aisles.
Meanwhile, a grocery store in Vancouver's downtown core had empty toilet paper shelves and limited canned soup left.
Last week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recommended that B.C. residents have the supplies and medications they need to stay home for a number of days.
"These are normal preparations when someone in your family is ill – there is no requirement for British Columbians to stockpile supplies," she said.