According to Julie Bedingfield, a spokesperson for H-E-B, stores throughout the area have seen an influx of customers in response to the recent outbreak.
“Even with as high volume of a store as we are, we are not equipped to handle this,” an H-E-B employee in New Braunfels said of the spike in purchases.
At the chain’s 651 S. Walnut Ave. and 2965 I-35 North stores, toilet paper aisles were empty and many non-perishable goods were in short supply while H-E-B Curbside services struggled to keep pace.
Stores have placed transaction limits on items such as hand soap, bath tissue, disinfectant wipes and water multipacks in an attempt to curb shoppers buying in bulk.
On March 14, the Texas grocer announced it would limit store hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at all locations in the state to allow employees to restock shelves.
Bedingfield said items are restocked at the end each day and customers are cautioned to purchase items only as needed.
“We have been preparing for this for months,” Bedingfield said. “We are encouraging people to not panic, to not shop like this is a hurricane.”
New Braunfels resident Angela Chason said that she planned to purchase additional toiletry items during her regular grocery shopping after hearing about items being sold out at some stores.
Chason is most concerned about elderly residents being able to get the items they need.
“We are making available the items [people] need,” Bedingfield said. “We ask for their patience.”
In an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, Bedingfield said that H-E-B pharmacies would be offering free home delivery and are temporarily discontinuing food demos. Employees who focused on these services will transition to supporting customer service and H-E-B Curbside.
“We have an opportunity to rise to the occasion,” Chason said. “I’d like to see people take care of each other.”