Coronavirus panic-buying leading to empty shelves, long lines at many Princeton area grocery stores

Empty shelves in the beef section at Wegmans on Route 1 Friday, late morning.
Photo submitted by a reader.

Area residents who went to buy food at local ShopRites, Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, and other grocery stores Friday morning encountered long lines, empty shelves, and in some cases, flaring tempers.

Some readers have reported that other area stores like McCaffrey’s have plenty of food and supplies. Grocery stores have been working to keep up with the demand, restocking as quickly as possible.

But several readers have reported that some shoppers at the Wegmans on Route One in West Windsor were arguing and fighting over food on Friday morning. Many stores are out of toilet paper, water, milk, and even meat. Some shoppers loaded up as many of the items as they could before supplies ran out.

“Something needs to be done about it. They should limit the number of certain items per shopper to prevent hoarding,” one reader told Planet Princeton. Another suggested that security measures were needed for crowd control.

Public health officials nationally and locally have been urging people to prepare, but not to “panic buy.”

CDC officials told a U.S. congressional hearing that there is no need for healthy Americans to stock up on any supplies. State officials have said a 14-day supply of food, water, and other necessities is sufficient, as in any other emergency situation such as a hurricane.

Chicken was sold out at the Wegmans on Route 1 by late Friday morning.
submitted by a reader.


  1. It is not obvious this is “panic buying” if it results from people planning to isolate themselves for some time — which everyone over 60 should be considering right now.

    1. Readers reported people (not the elderly) buying a few dozen bottles of hand soap, whole carts full of toilet paper, etc. Beyond the necessary supplies for a few weeks or even a month of self-isolation.

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