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Coronavirus Crisis Prompts Panic Buying In San Antonio. Should You Stock Up?

The coronavirus threat has people racing to stockpile groceries and other basic necessities, resulting in crowded aisles, long lines, product shortages and even fights at stores across the country. What's the situation in San Antonio? Is panic buying based on rumors or reality?

The city's first travel-related COVID-19case was confirmed Friday morning, but community spread has yet to be identified locally. Schools remain closed, major events have been cancelled and many employees have been asked to work from home.

Photos posted on social media show stores with empty shelves and snaking lines of stressed shoppers waiting to get in. Demand for certain products is so high that some stores in the U.S. have begun implementing per person item limits.

H-E-B implemented product limits on sanitation products, numerous food items, bottled water and more, "in an effort to make sure customers have access to all products they need."

For homes that already struggle with food insecurity, stocking up is not a possibility. What efforts are being made to ensure low-income households are prepared? How is need identified and is there enough supply to meet community need?

How has the viral outbreak stressed the food supply system? Does panic-buying exacerbate the problem?How are stores preparing to meet consumers' demand long-term, if necessary?


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, March 16.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.