MEDFORD, Ore.– Public response to facts about the coronavirus has many heading to the stores to stock up on essentials. Grocery and big box stores across the Rogue Valley are seeing a larger than normal influx of customers, however, some also say they’re just shopping like they normally would.
Some people say coronavirus is being blown out of proportion but judging by the lines at stores in the valley and across the country, most people don’t feel that way.
Medford’s Food 4 Less had a full parking lot around lunchtime Friday. Inside the store, every checkout was open and staff said they were busy since they had opened that morning. Many people were seen buying bags of food, hand sanitizers if they could get it, and lots of toilet paper.
“When it comes down to it and we can’t get it and can’t get out to get it if we could, we’re gonna need it,” said Scott Welch, a resident from Gold Hill. Welch says he’s concerned about the virus and wore disposable gloves to the store as a safety precaution. He says he’s concerned about his mother who lives in Central Point. He hasn’t gone to see in person yet out of concern for her safety.
“This parking lot is packed because everybody is concerned just nobody is talking about it,” he said. “I just wish it were more under control.”
Others who went to the store weren’t as concerned, however. Fred White from Jacksonville said the lines at Food 4 Less were unbelievable. He says he went to the store to gather just a couple items he needed but he wasn’t there to stock up. White thinks the virus is being overhyped and in a couple of weeks, he expects it’ll all blow over.
“I think it’s being overexaggerated and they’ve got the fear in people and the people are really stocking up,” he said. “I think it’ll pass.”
Still, while some might not be concerned about the virus itself, they’re concerned with how the public is reacting. Leisha Salcedo, a Medford resident, says she went to three different stores on Friday to pick up essentials not just for her but also for her friends.
“They don’t really have enough time to go do this so I’ve kind of volunteered a little bit of my extra time to go help them,” she said.
Salcedo is just trying to do what she can for her community. But the number of people going to the stores and emptying the shelves of sanitary products and certain foods, she’s feeling a bit worried.
“To see everybody so intensely out there buying everything, that makes me a little bit nervous,” she said.
Everyone agrees that preventative measures and proper sanitation are vital, especially when going shopping. Many store clerks and customers were seen wearing disposable gloves or other types of gloves in order to prevent touching any public spaces.
Hand sanitizer, washing your hands, not touching your face and clean hygiene are steps health officials also suggest to help slow the spread of the virus.
It’s becoming a habit that more and more people might have to get used to. If only for the sake of protecting those most at-risk.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.