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Coronavirus: Charlie Baker urges grocery shoppers against hoarding food


Gov. Charlie Baker has a word of advice to grocery shoppers in Massachusetts this weekend: Chill.

Amid the endless images of barren shelves, emptied-out freezer sections, and sprawling lines at the state’s supermarkets, Baker is urging residents against hoarding food and supplies in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“I ask everything to please use their heads,” he said during a press conference Saturday morning. “Get a few extra items when you go out — perfectly appropriate. But filling your basement with two years of canned soup just means your neighbor will have to go without.”

Boston-area supermarkets have seen a crush of customers beginning late this week, amid worries that residents may have to self-quarantine or avoid crowds for long periods of time to limit the spread of the contagious disease.

However, the trend, known as panic-buying, can have negative knock-on effects, including potentially disrupting the supply chain and creating product shortages. Some local supermarkets have placed purchase limits this week on certain high-demand items, such as cleaning supplies and toilet paper. And while some of those items may be in short supply, industry experts say the larger concerns about food availability are unfounded.

“There’s no shortage of food or dried goods at our stores,” Baker said Saturday. “Some shelves in our stores have been bare; we’ve all seen the pictures, but guess what: they weren’t bare the next morning.”

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