Arlington, VA

The most consistent advice regarding the coronavirus, besides frequent hand washing, seems to be to practice social distancing — stay at home, avoid crowded workplaces or events, and generally just hunker down.

In apparent preparation for long stays at home, Arlingtonians have been flocking to local stores and picking aisles clean of toilet paper, cleaning supplies, canned soup and even bananas.

The past two nights, in particular, have seen huge crowds at local grocery stores.

At the Ballston Harris Teeter last night, people waited in line to check out for upwards of 45 minutes and had to navigate aisles of empty shelves. Cleaning supplies, toilet paper and paper towels all were in low supply, if at all.

Elsewhere in and around Arlington, readers reported:

Last week we reported that most local grocery stores, drug stores and hardware store were completely out of hand sanitizer and face masks.

The hoarding may have some negative effects, as one reader noted in an email to ARLnow Friday morning.

“I popped into Harris Teeter on George Mason last night and was greeted by barren shelves of produce and meat… What impacted me the most from my trip, was while I was disappointed that I couldn’t grab chicken for tonight’s dinner (there was none) I saw an older lady — perhaps in her 70’s doing her shopping,” the reader wrote.

“I saw her searching the empty shelves for groceries and was struck by the realization that the people who are hoarding resources are also bringing undue risk and hardship to those with the most need,” the reader continued. “I have no idea how difficult it was for this woman to get to the grocery store, but I’m sure her effort was more than mine. To think she may have to go without as a result of others panic broke my heart.”

There is some good news: shelves are getting restocked overnight. At the Shirlington Harris Teeter this morning, there was plenty of toilet paper, plus bleach and Lysol-based cleaners.

Ashley Hopko and Jay Westcott contributed to this report

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