A woman buys toilet paper at a market in Mount Lebanon, Pa, on Tuesday.(AP Photo)
A woman buys toilet paper at a market in Mount Lebanon, Pa, on Tuesday.(AP Photo)

Toilet paper limits, empty shelves are back as Covid-19 surges

The biggest supply issue seems to be paper products: 21% of shelves that stock paper towels and toilet paper are empty, the highest level in at least a month, according to market research company IRI.
By Associated Press | Posted by Kanishka Sarkar | New York
UPDATED ON NOV 18, 2020 06:40 AM IST

Looking for toilet paper? Good luck.

A surge of new coronavirus cases in the US is sending people back to stores to stockpile again, leaving shelves bare and forcing retailers to put limits on purchases.

Walmart said Tuesday it’s having trouble keeping up with demand for cleaning supplies in some stores. Supermarket chains Kroger and Publix are limiting how much toilet paper and paper towels shoppers can buy after demand spiked recently. And Amazon is sold out of most disinfectant wipes and paper towels.

Click here for complete coronavirus coverage

A similar scene played out back in March, when the pandemic first hit and people hunkered down in their homes.

But Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, formerly the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said he doesn’t expect things to be as bad this go-around since lockdowns are being handled on a regional basis and everyone is better prepared.

“A more informed consumer combined with a more informed manufacturer and a more informed retailer should provide all of us with a greater sense of ease and ensure we can meet this growing demand, “ Freeman said.

The biggest supply issue seems to be paper products: 21% of shelves that stock paper towels and toilet paper are empty, the highest level in at least a month, according to market research company IRI. Cleaning supplies have remained level at 16%. Before the pandemic, 5% to 7% of consumer goods were typically out of stock, IRI said.

Contributing to the problem is the fact that roughly 10% of the workforce at manufacturing plants where the products are made are calling out sick, mainly because they’ve been in contact with others who were tested positive to Covid-19, Freeman said.

Kelly Anderson of Colorado Springs, Colorado, said she needs more supplies now that in-person school in her area was canceled earlier this month and her two children are at home more. She’s noticed others are stocking up, too: Safeway and Walmart were nearly wiped out of bottled water and disinfectant wipes during a recent visit, both of which had been easy to find since the summer.

It’s also been harder to find a time slot to get her groceries delivered. Anderson says she’s had to wait as many as two days instead of same-day delivery. But that’s still not as bad as earlier this year

“March seems like a million years ago, but I do remember freaking out,” she said. “I couldn’t get groceries delivered for a week.”

Walmart said while supplies are stressed in some areas, it thinks it will be able to handle any stockpiling now than earlier this year. Amazon said its working with manufacturers to get items such as disinfecting wipes, paper towels and hand sanitizer in stock.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Pfizer has said it will ship based on numbers of doses, not vials, which would mean fewer vials of vaccine being shipped to supply the same number of doses.(Reuters)
Pfizer has said it will ship based on numbers of doses, not vials, which would mean fewer vials of vaccine being shipped to supply the same number of doses.(Reuters)

Italy blames Pfizer delays as Covid vaccinations slow to a crawl

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 01:02 PM IST
Denmark this week also criticized Pfizer for slowing the pace of vaccine deliveries.
Close
The UN logo at the United Nations headquarters in New York. (HT archive)
The UN logo at the United Nations headquarters in New York. (HT archive)

India, Pakistan square off at UN on resolution on protecting religious sites

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Smriti Sinha
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:48 PM IST
The Indian side criticising Pakistan for co-sponsoring the move weeks after the demolition of a Hindu temple; the resolution was passed unanimously after Saudi Arabia and Morocco piloted negotiations on a consensus text
Close
A file photo of Canada's governor general Julie Payette in the Senate chamber in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (REUTERS)
A file photo of Canada's governor general Julie Payette in the Senate chamber in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (REUTERS)

Canada’s governor general Julie Payette quits over workplace mistreatment scandal

PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:42 PM IST
The incident marks the first instance of a sitting governor general of Canada having to quit over a controversy. Payette, a former astronaut, had been serving in that position since 2017
Close
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and then-US president Donald Trump talk during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 28, 2019.(Reuters File Photo)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and then-US president Donald Trump talk during the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 28, 2019.(Reuters File Photo)

After Trump setbacks, Kim Jong Un starts over with Biden

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:02 PM IST
US President Joe Biden has previously called Kim a “thug” and accused predecessor Donald Trump of chasing spectacles instead of meaningful reductions of Kim’s nuclear arsenal.
Close
Lloyd Austin III was US Central Command Commander. If confirmed, he will be the first Black person to hold the top Pentagon job (FILE/AP).
Lloyd Austin III was US Central Command Commander. If confirmed, he will be the first Black person to hold the top Pentagon job (FILE/AP).

Congress poised for quick action on Biden's Pentagon nominee Austin

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:57 AM IST
The Democratic-controlled Congress has easily passed legislation required to confirm retired General Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense.
Close
Chuck Schumer (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (FILE/AP)
Chuck Schumer (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (FILE/AP)

Senate leader Schumer reviewing request for Trump impeachment trial delay

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:54 AM IST
The Republicans have argued that former President Donald Trump needed time to prepare a defense against charges of inciting insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.
Close
Russia has rejected calls from the US and European governments to release Navalny.(via REUTERS)
Russia has rejected calls from the US and European governments to release Navalny.(via REUTERS)

Kremlin misread Navalny’s resolve to fight, even from prison

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:45 AM IST
Russian officials were convinced opposition leader Alexey Navalny wouldn’t come back.
Close
Shops, restaurants and schools are closed, and people have been told to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.(REUTERS)
Shops, restaurants and schools are closed, and people have been told to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.(REUTERS)

Boris Johnson signals 3rd UK lockdown could last into summer

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:34 AM IST
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel did not repeat previous assurances that the U.K. will be getting back to normal by April, even as the mass vaccination program continued to expand to reach 5 million people.
Close
Shanghai began testing all hospital staff for the disease on Thursday after two such workers tested positive.(ANI)
Shanghai began testing all hospital staff for the disease on Thursday after two such workers tested positive.(ANI)

Beijing launches mass virus tests as China's daily tally drops slightly

Reuters, Beijing
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:26 AM IST
Mainland China reported a slight decline in new daily Covid-19 cases on Friday - 103 from 144 cases a day earlier.
Close
Kamala Harris, who is also the first ever black American and Indian-origin person to occupy the position, had a busy first working day.(AFP)
Kamala Harris, who is also the first ever black American and Indian-origin person to occupy the position, had a busy first working day.(AFP)

We have hit the ground running: Kamala Harris

PTI, Washington
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:23 AM IST
The executive orders ranged from rejoining the Paris agreement on climate change, halting America's withdrawal from the World Health Organisation, revoking Muslim travel ban and stopping immediate construction of Mexico border wall.
Close
The State currently allows people aged 65 and older and people 50 and older living in a multi-generational household to get vaccinated.(AP Photo)
The State currently allows people aged 65 and older and people 50 and older living in a multi-generational household to get vaccinated.(AP Photo)

Amazon's pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic to open soon in its Seattle headquarters

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:06 AM IST
The move came a day after Reuters reported that Amazon had offered to help with the United States' efforts involving the Covid-19 vaccine, citing a letter addressed to President Joe Biden.
Close
It has been suggested that in adults and children, being "fat but fit" might be associated with similar cardiovascular health to being "thin but unfit".(HT Archive)
It has been suggested that in adults and children, being "fat but fit" might be associated with similar cardiovascular health to being "thin but unfit".(HT Archive)

Exercise does not undo ill effects of being fat on heart health: Report

ANI, Sophia Antipolis, France
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:59 AM IST
Physical activity does not undo the negative effects of excess body weight on heart health, suggest the findings of a large study.
Close
Facebook blocked Trump's access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts over concerns of further violent unrest following the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol by the former president's supporters.(Reuters)
Facebook blocked Trump's access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts over concerns of further violent unrest following the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol by the former president's supporters.(Reuters)

Facebook's oversight board to decide on Trump ban

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:38 AM IST
Trump will remain suspended while the board, a recently created body that can overrule the company's decisions on content, reviews the decision.
Close
The most controversial part of the law would require Google and Facebook to enter mandatory arbitration with media companies if they cannot reach agreement over the value of their content within three months.(REUTERS)
The most controversial part of the law would require Google and Facebook to enter mandatory arbitration with media companies if they cannot reach agreement over the value of their content within three months.(REUTERS)

Google threatens to block its search engine in Australia over media law

AFP, Canberra
UPDATED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:28 AM IST
  • Under the laws, the firms would be required to compensate Australian media outlets, ranging from Rupert Murdoch's giant News Corp to public broadcasters ABC and SBS, for publishing snippets of their content in search results.
Close
Women mourn as they walk outside the al-Kindi hospital morgue following a twin suicide bombing attack in a central Baghdad market, in Baghdad, Iraq(REUTERS)
Women mourn as they walk outside the al-Kindi hospital morgue following a twin suicide bombing attack in a central Baghdad market, in Baghdad, Iraq(REUTERS)

IS claims Baghdad twin bombing that killed 32, wounded 110

AFP, Baghdad
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:26 AM IST
  • The open-air market, where second-hand clothes are sold at stalls, had been teeming with people after the lifting of nearly a year of Covid-19 restrictions across the country.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP