Ahead of new restrictions going into effect on Friday, Minnesotans have once again been stocking up for a long stay at home – with toilet paper a popular target.
There have been reports coming in from all over the Twin Cities of bare shelves in the TP and kitchen roll sections, a throwback to scenes ahead of Gov. Walz's "Stay at Home" order in the spring.
BMTN has had reports of shelves being emptied at a Target in Minnetonka (later restocked) and the Costco in Eden Prairie, while people on social media have shared pictures of similar situations at other Twin Cities stores.
At the Lunds and Byerlys in Edina, the store has reverted to its one-pack limit of toilet paper – there was still plenty in stock on Wednesday.
Target also notes on its website that it has taken steps in the past to place limits on toilet paper, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, and will "adjust limits as needed."
"We respectfully ask all guests to consider their immediate needs and purchase accordingly, so more families can find the products they need," the retailer says on its website.
As we reported in March, the nation's toilet paper producers have the ability to crank out the product at a high clip and any shortage can be rectified in weeks rather than months – manufacturers are just used to distributing a steady supply.
The new restrictions coming into force at 11:59 p.m. Friday are somewhat different from March: retail stores can stay open and operate at 100% capacity, salons and barbers can also stay open, as can places of worship.
The shutdowns are impacting once again bars and restaurants, which will close to dine-in service for the next 4 weeks, with gyms and fitness centers, public pools, and entertainment venues also required to close.
While not going back to the messaging of "Stay at Home," the new guidance does encourage Minnesotans to do so as much as possible, and also includes a ban on mixing with anyone outside their own household in social settings.
Warning against hoarding
Ahead of the restrictions, the Minnesota Grocers Association has issued some guidance for shopping over the holiday period – and it includes a warning against some of the hoarding apparently being seen again, with regards to TP at least.
"We encourage all customers to remain calm and mindful as they shop - prioritize your most immediate needs," it said. "Overbuying becomes a concern as a customer who buys more than they need prevents another customer from providing for their family."
It also reminded shoppers to wear face masks while in store, and to avoid going shopping if you have symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19, or been exposed to someone positive.
"Social distancing is still incredibly important," it adds. "Please allow six feet between yourself and others as recommended by the CDC. Streamline your trip by making a list and having only one family member do the shopping."
It also calls on shoppers to be respectful of store employees, many of whom are working "double-time on the front lines" during the pandemic.