NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In the age of social distancing, buying groceries isn’t easy. There are long lines at the stores, and online.

Throughout the area, parking lots are still full at grocery stores, reports CBS2’s Kevin Rincon.

The lines are long to get in and precautions have been stepped up to try and keep people safe – but for those opting to stay inside, getting essentials delivered to them isn’t easy.

“In general it took me two weeks to even get the availability on Target.com,” said shopper Erica Barreto of Jersey City. “Then when I was on there, shipping wasn’t an option. I couldn’t do pickup, and so then I did the two-day shipping. Suffice to say things still aren’t at my house and that was over two weeks ago.”

Barreto tried a number of sites but found it hard to get fruits and vegetables, an essential part of her diet and that of her 16-week-old son Santiago.

“Food was so difficult to get, especially being vegan which maybe there’s not a lot of them, I’m not totally sure, but getting fruit and vegetables is literally our bread and butter,” she said. “If we can’t get them easily, that’s our whole diet, so we felt like we had no choice but to go to an area where not only the COVID cases are a lot smaller, but where food is still available.”

She left a week ago for Minnesota. Customers are struggling, but so are stores.

ACME’s parent company Alberton’s says it is hiring associates, delivery drivers, personal shoppers to meet demand, as is Instacart. While FreshDirect says it has increased capacity, but it has fewer employees.

People like Stephanie Schiff, a teacher from the Bronx who lives in Jersey City, say the best advice is to wait until midnight – but even then, that’s a small window.

“My husband, just to try, went on a minute after I checked out, but by 12:04 everything was gone,” said Schiff.

She says, despite having some success, she hasn’t been able to get everything she normally does.

“MAy 2-year-old is going to be picky with food but he’s just going to have to deal with what he’s going to get,” she said.

For now, many stores are struggling to keep up, not just to deliver items, but even to set them aside for pickup.

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