Panic buying of toilet paper hits U.S. stores again

It’s happening again: panic buying amid the pandemic. Americans are scrambling for essentials, stripping some store shelves bare of items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

As 22 states impose restrictions aimed at curbing the fast spread of COVID-19, shoppers are also facing purchase limits from retailers that include Target and supermarket chain Kroger. Walmart said Friday it’s seeing what it calls “pockets of lower than normal availability” for toilet paper and cleaning supplies in some communities.

Shoppers in half dozen cities told Reuters disinfecting wipes were sold out at discount retailers like Walmart and Costco and grocery chains Albertsons and Vons.

Shoppers in California said they couldn’t find toilet paper at Costco stores in Fresno and Los Angeles. The state’s governor had earlier ordered a curfew on indoor social gatherings and non-essential activities across most of California. Up north in Washington state, a Costco in Vancouver had run out of goods ranging from toilet paper to paper towels to Spam canned meat.

In a bid to keep up with demand, top toilet paper seller Procter & Gamble, which makes Charmin, said it’s running its plants around the clock.