Gov. Abbott warns against hoarding toiletries, food amid coronavirus fears

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a warning against hoarding as images of empty shelves and long lines at supermarkets flood social media.

While it might be a concerning sight, there is no evidence of any long-term supply shortages.

Not a single North Texas store is running out of food. The only reason some shelves are empty is people taking more than they need.

No matter the grocery store you pick, it seems each one is full of shoppers and short on what you need.

“We found some paper towels,” said shopper Sherman Harris. “We haven't found any toilet paper yet.”

Some shelves were cleared, despite stores setting limits on what each customer can buy.


Many of the people FOX 4 spoke with aren't buying to hoard it.

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Chelsea Murphy, a mother, went shopping because she was worried she wouldn't be able to get diapers and other things she needs.

“I didn't want to be without, so I made sure that I got some supplies,” she said. “Even though I really couldn't afford it, but I did it.”

Cecilia Ibarra bought a few things after coming across empty shelves elsewhere.

“I went to Trader Joes first,” she said. “And when I saw everything was gone there, then I was like. ‘Oh, God. This is serious.’”

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During a news conference in Austin on Friday, Gov. Abbott said there is no need to stockpile supplies.

“Hoarding is not necessary,” he said. “For those that may be worried about seeing empty shelves at your grocery stores, these shelves will be replenished and people will have the supplies they need.”

The governor said this is not a situation like when folks prepare for a hurricane. There's also no evidence of any major supply chain disruptions.             

Even in hard-hit Italy when the government shut down stores, it allowed groceries and pharmacies to remain open. It urged people not to rush out and stock up.

For many here in North Texas, it's just a matter a having some extra supplies on hand with the ability to keep going back to stores to get more as needed.

Gov. Abbott said they are working closely with suppliers to ensure everything possible is done so people can get what they need.