Shoppers say Costco stores were mobbed with customers stocking up over the weekend as panic over coronavirus heightens in the US

Costco coronavirusCostco coronavirus

Reuters/Duane Tanouye

  • Costco stores were overrun with shoppers over the weekend as customers stocked up on goods to prepare for the spread of coronavirus. 
  • Photos and videos shared online show long lines of customers both outside and in various Costco stores.
  • Other images show bare shelves after customers stocked up with staple items. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US and Canadian consumers are flocking to Costco stores to stock up as panic over the spread of the coronavirus intensifies. 

Over the weekend, shoppers shared videos and photos of their local Costco stores on social media, documenting the giant lines of customers that stretched outside the store and across the car parking lot.

Many of these shoppers also shared pictures of the empty shelves in their local stores. 

Here’s a look inside:

This Costco store in Tigard in Oregon had long lines on Saturday after Oregon’s first case of coronavirus was reported in the nearby city of Lake Oswego.

Costco coronavirus

AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus

By the time the photographer had visited the store, it was already out of key products such as toilet paper.

Costco coronavirus

AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus

A giant line formed outside a Costco store in Honolulu in Hawaii on Saturday after the Hawaii Department of Health advised residents to stock up on food and necessities earlier in the week.

Costco coronavirus

Reuters/Duane Tanouye

Source: Reuters

He told Reuters that the store was limiting how much shoppers could buy of certain products such as toilet paper.

Costco coronavirus

Reuters/Duane Tanouye

Despite this, his photos show customers loading up their carts with giant quantities of these items. 

There have been mixed messages about how to prepare for the spread of the virus. While Hawaii state advised customers to stock up, CDC director Robert Redfield told Congress on Thursday that it isn’t necessary to do so.

—Shanteenna (@Shanteenna) March 1, 2020

Source: LA Times

But shoppers don’t seem to be taking Redfield’s advice…

—Sherry Reynolds 🌟 (@Cascadia) March 2, 2020

—Grillo_Político (@Grillopolitics) March 2, 2020

According to Nielsen data, sales of toilet paper were up 5.4% in the week ending January 25 this year versus last year.

—Jessie Liang (@JessieKTSF) March 2, 2020

And bottled water saw a 2.4% sales increase in the same period.

—∆ vicki ∆ (@vickilaszlo) March 1, 2020

And because of the panic many of these staple items are out of stock in certain Costco stores…

—Jared Aarons (@10NewsAarons) March 2, 2020

…leaving shelves in some parts of the store completely bare.

—dummy (@dummy85570926) March 2, 2020



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