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Stores Re-impose Purchase Limits on Toilet Paper, Soap as U.S. Hits 181,100 Daily COVID Cases

Newsweek logo Newsweek 11/14/2020 Darragh Roche
a group of people standing in front of a store: A customer wearing a mask looks at a supermarket shelve amid the COVID-19 pandemic on April 29, 2020 in New York City, United States. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming over 219,000 lives with over 3.1 million cases. Some grocery chains are imposing purchase limits. © Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images A customer wearing a mask looks at a supermarket shelve amid the COVID-19 pandemic on April 29, 2020 in New York City, United States. COVID-19 has spread to most countries around the world, claiming over 219,000 lives with over 3.1 million cases. Some grocery chains are imposing purchase limits.

Grocery stores nationwide are re-introducing purchasing limits on essential goods as the U.S. continues to see record numbers of COVID-19 cases amid the ongoing pandemic.

The nation saw 181,100 new cases on Friday, according to the New York Times. This is a record-breaking day for virus cases as some analysts say the disease is out of control across the country.

Concerns that rising cases will encourage people to buy in bulk and stock up on basic goods has prompted major grocery chains to take pre-emptive action and limit purchases.

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the U.S., has imposed purchase limits on essential goods like bath tissue, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap, according to Fox Business.

"To ensure all customers have access to what they need, we've proactively and temporarily set purchase limits to two per customer on certain products," a spokesperson told the network.

The new limits will apply both to in-store purchases and those made online. Consumers are expected to stock up on essential goods as autumn turns to winter and a worsening of the virus is anticipated.

Publix, a chain that operates mainly in the South, imposed restrictions last week on paper towels and bath tissue. This was in response to high demand from customers, according to Progressive Grocer. Limits on the quantity that can be purchased is based on individual stores.

Restrictions have also been applied to cleaning products in some stores. Harris Teeter, whose parent company is Kroger, has limited purchases from its cleaning section.

"We'll continue to monitor the situation, and if we see a need, we may re-introduce limits to other items," a spokesperson told Fox Business on November 9.

CBS Los Angeles reported on Friday that several major chains were now limiting the number of items customers could buy due to fears that some consumers will resort to hoarding.

Paper towels and toilet paper have been "selling like hotcakes," the local station said, and some food stuffs like spaghetti have also been subject to high demand. Kroger, Whole Foods and Target stores in Los Angeles have begun posting signs about purchase limits.

At the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S. in March, some people made bulk purchases of key items, either out of concern for supply shortages or in order to limit the need to leave their homes. The phenomenon was also common worldwide.

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