PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Empty shelves at grocery stores are becoming a more frequent sight every day as more Americans prepare to hunker down as the coronavirus spreads.

But how long will it last and will stores be able to keep up with the demand long-term?

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At Stew Leonard’s in Paramus, an army of employees worked to replenish the milk shelves left bare by a mad rush of shoppers, as customers buy extra everything to stock up on the basics, including food and alcohol.

“Just want to be prepared. Kids are home, and you, you know, always need some wine,” Barbara Tabano, of Hillsdale, New Jersey, said.

“I got six packs of chicken, couple packs of steak, three pounds of coffee, apples, all the good stuff,” AJ Rench, of Wallington, New Jersey, said.

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“The last couple weeks have been a frenzy. People are panicking, they’re hoarding,” Stew Leonard, Jr., CEO of the grocery store, told CBS2 via Skype.

Leonard says the shopping rush has been unprecedented, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reports.

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“I don’t know how much more food people can fit in their refrigerators and freezers at home. Because they have really bought so much product,” he said.

So with shoppers stocking up and some even hoarding, can grocery stores keep up with demand long-term?

Leonard says yes, for the most part.


But as coronavirus spreads, it’s crucial to keep truck drivers healthy as they’re the ones who get the food from the farms and warehouses to the stores.

“As far as the food supply goes, we can get plenty. One of the challenges is the number of truck drivers that you need,” Leonard said.

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Leonard says for the most part, the supply chain is strong, but it is getting harder to keep certain items on the shelves, including toilet paper, bottled water, disinfectants, and now, even chicken.