Coronavirus: Empty shelves becoming a common sight in Minnesota grocery stores

There's been a particular run on toilet paper.
Publish date:
Screen Shot 2020-03-13 at 10.13.34 AM

Concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, Minnesota shoppers have been emptying shelves at their local grocery stores.

The Minnesota Department of Health is expected on Friday to advise the public to engage in "social distancing," asking people to limit their interactions with the wider public, not attend large group events, and stay home when possible.

It asked the state's schools to try and do the same on Thursday, requiring assemblies to be dropped and recess times to be staggered.

To that end, some shoppers have left it late to get their required supplies for what could be a long stay at home, though there has been ample evidence on social media that some are taking more than they need.

Unfortunately, one of the items that shoppers appear to be hoarding is toilet paper, which while useful isn't absolutely vital to have in abundant quantities like, say, medication in the event of a weeks-long quarantine.

The run on toilet paper has been repeated the world over, but there are many more items that are hard to come by, with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes having seemingly been out of stock for weeks.

A few weeks back the Minnesota Department of Health began advising people gradually build up household food and supplies in order to ensure the robustness of supply lines. A significant number do not appear to have heeded that advice.

Target has imposed extra restrictions on purchases in the Twin Cities. Last week, it was limiting the sale of sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to 6 per customer, that's now been reduced to 4 and toilet paper and bottled water has been added to that list.

KFAN's AJ Mansour shared these photos from the Maple Grove Costco on Thursday evening.

Online shopping could provide an answer – there is currently plenty of options on Amazon for toilet paper right now, for example. 

Efforts to feed low-income, hungry residents

For all those who are spending heavily on stocking up, it's worth remembering that not everyone can afford to, especially at a time when business is being affected and workers are being asked to stay home.

Second Harvest Heartland is among the organizations trying to provide help during the pandemic, announcing a number of plans on Thursday to ensure hungry Minnesotans can get access to the food that they need.

This includes emergency food boxes, which can be accessed through the Second Harvest drive-through as well as from local food shelves.

It's also working to register people eligible for food stamps.

"This will be more important than ever, as the amount of people eligible for SNAP benefits will undoubtedly rise, including college students cut off from their on-campus meal plans and individuals who are working less or not at all," the organization said.

The organization says it needs donations to keep going during this time of crisis, with a donation of $50 enough to provide 150 meals. You can find out more here.

This will also be a point of concern in the event that schools have to shut down, with school lunches an important source of nutrition for children from low-income families. 

Next Up

Gary Kubiak

Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak announces retirement

Kubiak wraps up a career that has spanned nearly four decades.


Minneapolis police seeks public help finding missing woman

A 63-year-old woman has been missing since Tuesday

coronavirus testing

Don't want to talk to a contact tracer? MN debuts online option after positive test

The department says the survey will allow its staff to keep track of more cases at a faster pace

Family Dollar

Money Gal Coaching: 12 things you are wasting your money on

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

police lights

Three teens charged in Minneapolis robberies

The incidents took place on Saturday in Minneapolis.

covid-19, coronavirus, ppe

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Thursday, January 21

It's the first time in exactly four months that Minnesota has had fewer than 100 COVID patients in intensive care.

icy roads, bad roads

Girl, 16, killed in crash with semi on icy Minnesota road

The crash happened in Dodge County around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

police lights

Road rage incident sees driver punch out man's window, punch him in face

The incident happened in Waite Park Wednesday morning.

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 7.01.24 AM

Minneapolis will recover $100K in costs connected to 2019 Trump rally

The Target Center operator said it'll pay the costs over three years.

Jacob Frey

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey confirms run for reelection

He has faced criticism over the city's response to George Floyd's death.



Coronavirus: Some MN grocery stores limiting meat purchases

The nation's pork production has been cut in half.

bottled water

Coronavirus concern leads to empty shelves at Twin Cities stores

There are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Minnesota.


Monster line at Costco despite Gov. Walz's warning not to panic buy

The line to get into the Eden Prairie store stretches around the block.

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 8.35.38 PM

Gov. Tim Walz: Don't go on a hoarding spree at grocery stores

A "Stay at Home" order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday, but grocery stores will still be open.


Coronavirus: Menards bans children and pets from stores

The DIY giant is the latest retailer to place limits on customers.