December 7, 2021

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Item limits, hours cut, hiring and online orders up

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Food Lion announced Wednesday it is limiting purchases on high demand items as other grocers have done because of the novel coronavirus.

A two-item product limit has been placed on liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, some water bottle packs, bath tissue, paper towels, household cleaners, bleach and dish detergent. Signs will be posted in stores, said Matt Harakal, spokesman for the Salisbury-based grocery chain.

Mike Sprayberry, North Carolina emergency management director, said during Wednesday’s daily update on the state response to the coronavirus that the state’s supply chain to grocers is strong and stores are getting regular deliveries and restocking shelves.

“Please, resist the urge to stockpile food or engage in panic buying,” he said. “Leave some for others, especially those who can’t afford to buy a lot of food all at once.”

Other stores implemented item purchase limits earlier this month, including Harris Teeter, Publix, Target and Walmart.

“As we receive product daily, our associates are working as rapidly as possible to get it on the trucks, get the trucks on the road and delivered to our stores,” Harakal said. “We will continue working with our large supply network in the most efficient way possible to get product to stores to help serve our neighbors who are counting on us.”

Bleach, hand sanitizer, household cleaning supplies and paper products are in limited supply now, he said, as the availability of these items is impacted nationally.

“We are seeing a strain on some food supply like canned vegetables and canned fruit also,” Harakal said. In-store traffic, pickup and delivery are all “very busy,” he said.

The Fresh Market, with five Charlotte-area locations, has seen a boost in online sales, company spokeswoman Meghan Flynn said Tuesday.

“We are seeing an increase in traffic for our online shopping and delivery, on our e-commerce website, and through our mobile app,” she said. “The number of guests ordering online for the first time is up over 60% compared to last week.”

Store hours change

Matthews-based Harris Teeter said as of Thursday, stores will close one hour earlier to focus on cleaning and replenishment. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“We will continue to make decisions that allow us to operate open, clean and stocked stores to serve our shoppers and support our valued associates,” said company spokeswoman Danna Robinson. “We want to ensure all our shoppers have access to in-demand products. We are working closely with our suppliers to replenish our inventories.”

Harris Teeter announced last Friday that customers are limited to buying three items on high-demand preparedness items products like water and cleaning supplies.

Harris Teeter joins list of stores limiting purchases during coronavirus

As stores try to keep up with demand, Robinson said customers may experience delayed deliveries and limited inventory.

Discount grocer Aldi also announced a reduction in store hours on Monday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“While some stores may still find it necessary to institute temporary closures during the day, these new operating hours will help ensure that we can keep our stores clean and stocked,” a company statement said.

Grocer hiring

Aldi also is hiring at all stores and warehouses, according to a company Facebook post.

This news comes as thousands are losing their jobs businesses are closing across the country and in Charlotte, including entertainment like movie theaters and restaurants and bars.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper ordered bars and restaurants to close Tuesday, except for takeout and delivery. The more than $21 billion restaurant industry employs over half a million people statewide, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Other services grocers are offering

Although Reid’s Fine Foods grocery in-store dining is closed, the market says freezers, its butcher shop and other departments are stocked.

The store is offering free delivery to all customers age 60 and older within 5 miles of one of its four Charlotte locations, according to a company statement.

Whole Foods Market announced Wednesday on Twitter that customers 60 and older may shop one hour before the store opens. Charlotte’s four stores are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., closing two hours earlier than usual in order to allow time to restock shelves and sanitize.

“We will continue to fulfill Prime delivery orders and ensure that people who need to remain at home can still get their groceries in a timely manner,” a company statement said.

The Fresh Market also is catering to seniors and others at higher risk of illness from COVID-19 by designating shopping hours from 8-9 a.m. Monday-Friday. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

And Target announced Wednesday that its stores will reserve the first hour of shopping on Wednesdays for vulnerable guests, such as elderly and people with health concerns. Dollar General also is open the first hour of business daily to seniors.

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