Empty shelves at Northgate in Santa Ana on Saturday, March 14. Eddie Sandoval / el Don
COVID-19 is keeping grocery stores busy, with consumers emptying out shelves each day and stocking up on what they think they’ll need. But there’s no need to panic buy, Santa Ana. The supply chain is intact and more goods are on the way.
“The Food Industry supply chain is efficient and adaptable,” said Leslie Sarasin, president, and CEO of The Food Industry Association, which represents 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies nationwide. “And [we are] taking every measure to ensure that stocks are replenished as quickly as possible, and our customers are getting the products they need.
“Those shelves will be replenished soon, usually within the next day for most categories,” Sarasin said.
“A lot of people are buying food, and fine, buy food. But not in a panic situation, this is not a panic,” Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido said in a video statement.
President and CEO of Albertsons, Vivek Sankaran, stated in a press release that the Albertsons is planning to serve the community in case it’s impacted on a larger scale.
“From a single case to local community outbreaks or situations, we have plans to keep our stores and pharmacies open and serving our communities,” Sankaran said.
With President Trump waiving the Hours of Service law that regulates truck drivers from exceeding 11 hours of driving within 14 hours, distribution centers can use their driver workforce at full capacity, ensuring the demands of store orders.
Kenneth Whetstine, a local truck driver for Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons, said he is working overtime to keep stores stocked.
“[We are] Not running out of anything,” Whetstine said. “Warehouses are all full, and more trucks are coming.”
Albertsons also has its delivery options for groceries, pharmacy, and Drive Up & Go services in full operation.
The Albertsons on 17th street in Santa Ana are stocking every two days, several employees said.
Also, they have shifted hours for re-stocking. Their new hours are 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
In-store, Albertsons staff is “asking customers to respect quality limits of select, high-demand items,” like hand sanitizers and household cleaners.
In an online statement, officials at Superior Grocers said their store hours have changed, for a limited time, from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. “To stock our stores and better serve our customers.”
Further, Superior is taking precautions to keep employees and customers protected by adding more shifts and staffing for maintaining the store’s cleanliness.
They are cleaning carts, adding spray sanitizers for carts, and at store entrances. The store’s manager, David[ only gave his first name], said he was reluctant to comment on supplies and shipment.
Target’s Chairman and CEO, Brian Cornell, said that the chain is taking safety precautions and following CDC guidelines. Cornell added that Target is prioritizing high-demand items like cleaning products, medicine, and essential pantry items.
Locally, Stater Bros. Markets have set new temporary hours from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Although they have limited quantities, Stater Bros. CEO, Pete Van Helden, said they “are working closely with suppliers and sending products to our stores as quickly as they become available.”