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DC officials: Stop panic buying at grocery stores during coronavirus outbreak

The direction comes after shelves across the nation have become bare and after the White House asked Americans to also stop buying in excess.

WASHINGTON — Buying in excess during the coronavirus pandemic is something District officials say needs to stop. It comes after the White House sent down similar advice in its news conference on Sunday.

On Monday, D.C. officials said panic buying is causing problems in restocking shelves, and that you should only buy what you need.

"It's important to know what you are seeing in stores isn't actually a lack of supply; its the increased demand as a result of hoarding and panic buying," said Dr. Christopher Rodrigez Director of the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. "And our message to residents is simply this, 'Do your part and resist the temptation to buy more than what you need.' So what we are saying is 'buy what you need.' And if residence follows this guidance, suppliers will be in a better position to restock shelves."

Pictures from around D.C. show empty shelves of everyday products. 

With the sudden volume of purchases born out of fear, grocery stores supply chains have become stressed. 

Officials said they are in constant contact with grocery stores and suppliers and that they have been assured that without this rapid panic buying there will be enough food.

Credit: Annie Yu

"Right now, we are seeing a lot of hoarding and panic buying." We understand this is a unique and unprecedented event, and at times that can evoke fear in people. And in many ways, hoarding is a natural reaction to the uncertainty of our current situation. We want district residents and the public to know that this government, the mayor (Muriel Bowser), is in regular communication with our community partners, grocery stores and our suppliers. And in the communication we are working to understand and work through issues that they might be facing," added Dr. Rodrigez. 

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