Stores try to re-stock items as ‘panic buying’ continues


Earlier this week, state health officials recommended that residents have a 14-day emergency kit ready to go in case Covid-19 were to spread to the islands.

Some stores have been sold out of items like hand sanitizer and face masks for several weeks but now hygiene and cleaning supplies are also starting to disappear from shelves.

Store workers kept busy re-stocking those empty shelves this weekend.

Items like bleach and laundry detergent were selling quickly at Costco Iwilei. The store putting up item restrictions on water bottles, sanitizer wipes, and paper towels.

“I came to get toilet paper and sanitizer and food for the family,” said Honolulu resident Lei Cummings. “But they were out so we got what we could— some paper towels and food. We got what we needed, most of it, but not all of it.”

Another woman said she was out of toilet paper at her home and now is struggling to find some.

‘Panic buying’ can also impact those who are in need of necessary items like the Hawaii Food Bank.

“For most events, we know it will come to an end,” explained Hawaii Food Bank CEO Ron Mizutani. “On this one, we just have so many unknowns, so we know people are really in fear when it comes to purchasing and that fear of the unknown is what’s causing people to empty shelves and that’s a concern for us at Hawaii Food Bank.

“I understand families want to prepare their families for the unexpected but we do see in the end how it affects the food bank.”

Mizutani said Hawaii hasn’t seen any impacts yet but food banks in Asia have.

“Donation pools have, in some areas, have been impacted by 50-percent and volunteer pools have diminished in many of those food banks,” said CEO Ron Mizutani. “They remain open, but as far as food donations, panic purchasing has definitely had an impact on the food banks in Asia.”

As of Saturday evening food items like Spam, Vienna sausage, and soup, remained well-stocked on the shelves at Costco Iwilei.

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