Officials encourage normal shopping habits during COVID-19 emergency

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Empty shelves wiped clean by panicked shoppers have now become the new normal at many stores in the Chicago area.

Monday morning the Illinois Retail Merchants Association asked people to keep normal shopping habits, but to avoid stockpiling.

In a statement the IRMA said they are working closely with state officials to ensure grocery store shelves remain stocked.

"It's imperative for everyone to maintain their normal shopping routine to ensure the safety of our employees, fellow customers and your neighbors. IRMA has worked closely with state officials to ensure regulatory obstacles to restocking shelves are removed so consumers can access items they may need during this public health crisis. The retail industry is working around the clock to ensure its customers throughout Illinois will have the products it needs for you, your families and businesses. Our members in the grocery, pharmacy, convenience, hardware, restaurant, and every type of retail business, manage supply and demand chain needs on a constant basis which is a hallmark of this industry," said Rob Karr, president & CEO, IRMA.

On Sunday, Governor JB Pritzker said they are not worried about the food supply chain and there is no need to hoard.

Karr said people can return to their normal shopping patterns, instead of buying food to last several weeks, it just takes following simple steps of washing hands, wiping down shopping carts and social distancing.

"There's no impediment to obtaining food. People are allowed to freely leave their homes to obtain what they need," Karr said.

The grocery industry has taken steps to ensure the supply chain remains strong, like lifting the restrictions on the times of day deliveries can be made and enabling truck drivers to work longer hours in addition to increasing the weight limit of deliveries by 10 percent.

While industry leaders reassure people that there is enough food to go around, they emphasize the importance of looking out for each other.

They suggest that if lines persist at grocery stores, perhaps let older people get ahead of you and out of the store quicker.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.