Province warns against ‘fear and panic buying’ during Covid-19 pandemic

WINNIPEG — The Province and the City of Winnipeg are warning Manitoban’s about the perils of panic buying.

For the last week, people have been clearing shelves of toilet paper, sanitizing wipes, and bottled water as concerns surrounding Covid-19 continue to grow.

Empty shelves have many people going from store to store to find those essential items.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief public health officer, said fear can also be contagious in times like these, but fear isn’t going to help with Covid-19.

“I strongly discourage Manitoban’s from fear and panic buying and hoarding of supplies,” said Roussin.

He said people should be prepared in case they need to self-isolate, but hoarding items isn’t necessary.

The empty shelves left an impact on Ashley Preece. Preece uses a wheelchair, and one thing that makes her life a little easier is online grocery shopping.

On Friday, she received her usual grocery order, but some items were missing.

“When my order arrived, I did not receive any toilet paper, or paper, towel, or cat food,” said Preece.

She said she orders groceries from Save On Foods, and the items weren’t in her order because the store was completely out of stock.

Preece said her mobility issues make it hard for her to go store hopping for items she didn’t receive.

“It would be very expensive to order wheelchair transportation to go store to store to store to try and find your basic needs for the day,” she said.

Preece said she went outside to go to the store, and her chair got stuck in the snow multiple times. Still, she could not find those essential items at any of the stores she went to.

In a press conference on Saturday, Mayor Brian Bowman warned against panic buying.

“There is no need to engage in panic purchasing. You don’t need that much toilet paper,” said Bowman.

“You don’t need to rush out and purchase items in the way we’re seeing in some stores.”

Preece is still missing some necessities and is giving this advice to panic buyers.

“It’s good to have maybe a two week supply of your regular necessities,” she said.

“If we all do that, we’ll have supplies in the store.”