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Local Grocery Stores Make Changes Due To Coronavirus Concerns

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — Many grocery stores across the state are making changes due to coronavirus concerns including limiting the amount of items people can buy, cutting back business hours, and offering separate hours specifically for elderly customers.

Customers have seen crowds, packed carts, and bare shelves for over a week now.

“It’s kind of mob mentality,” said Lynette Lukens. “Everybody feels like they’re not going to have enough if they don’t do it.”

“We’ve been very busy, that’s for sure,” said Darin Peirce, vice president of retail operations at Associated Food Stores. “It’s been a challenge to keep things on the shelves.”

The company has now started limiting the amount of food and supplies people can buy at its 38 stores statewide, including Macey’s and Fresh Market stores.

“We did it in an attempt to be fair to everyone and allow everyone to come in and get what they need,” Peirce said. “We have seen some people who have been upset by that, but they have been far fewer than those who have really praised us for doing it.”

“It’s made a big difference,” Lukens said, as she went up and down the aisles. “I like it. I wish they would have done it before.”

Lukens said she has been visiting grocery stores regularly over the last couple of weeks, shopping for her own family as well as her elderly parents who are currently staying at home.

“You just got to have a sense of humor about it all, you know, especially with the toilet paper issue. A lot of fun jokes about that,” she said.

There was no toilet paper at the Pleasant Grove Macey’s on Thursday, but when there has been, posted signs made it clear that families are only allowed to take one package. For most other food items in the store, people are allowed two per household.

“I was able to find what I needed here,” Lukens said.

Peirce said their stores are used to seeing a jump in customers during various scares.

“But I have never seen anything like this,” he said.

Lukens said laughing about the situation has kept her going as she maneuvers through these uncertain times.

“It’s been difficult, kind of crazy. You just gotta have a sense of humor about it,” Lukens said. “As long as the stores stay open…I think we’ll be fine.”

Peirce told customers to remain calm and “know that our supply chain is secure.”

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