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The food supply is fine, retailers assure anxious Utahns

Empty supermarket shelves on March 11, 2020. (Colby Walker | KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Even though some grocery shelves are bare, the food supply is fine, Utah suppliers want residents to know.

Darin Peirce, vice-president of operations for Associated Retail Operations, says shipments come in every day, and the most needed or requested items get stocked as quickly as possible.  But until consumers go back to normal buying habits, there are going to be some bare spots on store shelves each day.

Peirce says as people became concerned about having enough needed items to outlast possible quarantines, the first thing to run out on the shelves was paper products and cleaning supplies.  Then, a second wave wiped out most of the meat, chicken and produce.

The latest run on food supply items in his stores appears to be on baking supplies, like flour and sugar.  He says Associated Foods, which operates Macey’s, Dan’s, Dick’s Market, Lin’s and Fresh Market stores in Utah, is taking steps to make sure all the needed items are available at the start of every shopping day.

Peirce says store hours in Utah are now 9a – 9pm Monday through Saturdays, and 10a – 4pm on Sundays.  This gives employees enough time to not only stock shelves, but sanitize as well.

And the workers need down time.  Peirce says the constant demands from customers is a strain not only on supplies but also the staff.

Along with shorter hours, Associated Foods is increasing sick leave for all employees if they’re required to self-quarantine.  And they’ll have more paid leave if they actually contract COVID-19.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States


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