New Jersey supermarkets are limiting the number of products customers can buy in key categories, as they wait for items to be restocked after  runs on cleaning and paper products prompted by the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak.

Shoppers have been stocking up all week in anticipation of possible self quarantines or having to work or attend school from home for several days or weeks.

"We completely understand the anxiety but there is no reason to hoard," Gov. Phil Murphy said at a media briefing on Saturday. "Be smart, be prudent, be prepared — don't panic."

The governor also noted that New Jersey is "the warehouse state," meaning the state is first in line for new shipments. In a press conference Monday, he said he didn't expect New Jersey warehouses to shut down, even as many other businesses were shuttered or put under curfews. Supermarkets' hours are not being restricted.


Kings Food Market spokeswoman Kimberly Yorio said her chain is working with suppliers all over the country to make sure it can to keeps goods on the shelves.

"It's not to say they don't sell out in 14 seconds, but we are certainly doing everything we can to keep everything on the shelf and limiting purchases on paper and water products," Yorio said.

The heroes at Kings are the cashiers who have been dealing with the long checkout lines and anxious shoppers, Yorio said..

"They are amazing. They have all gone to work with good cheer and taking all the CDC precautions and washing their hands raw. They are doing their best to keep up and keep everyone served," Yorio said.

Yorio said that during any crisis situation, grocery workers are emergency workers because supermarkets have to stay open.

"Our associates are used to being an intergral part of the community and are rising up," Yorio said, adding that most are showing up for their assigned shifts.

A spokesperson for ShopRite said that chain has had a hard time restocking and is in short supply of some products, such as disinfectant cleaners and wipes, bar and liquid soaps, water, cough/cold over the counter medicines and is now limiting purchases to two.

"We’re working with our suppliers to keep these items on the shelf for you and we appreciate your cooperation in limiting your purchases so that everyone can get the products they need," the chain said in a statement.

Walmart COO Dacona Smith said in a statement said the chain's stores nationwide are limiting their hours of operation nationwide to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

"This will help ensure associates are able to stock the products our customers are looking for and to perform cleaning and sanitizing," Smith said, adding that a normal schedule of delivery to stores is being kept.

ShopRIte in Somerville
ShopRIte in Somerville (Sergio Bichao, Townsquare Media NJ)

Wegmans has also adjusted its hours of operation in New Jersey to 6 a.m.  to 11 p.m. and temporarily closed all Pub by Wegman's restaurants inside a number of stores. Purchase limits are in place for key categories like cleaning products, health  and wellness and family size meats and poultry.

Customers at Acme are being asked to "respect quantity limits of select, high-demand items (like hand sanitizers and household cleaners)" to help meet demand, the chain said in a statement.

Wawa and Quick Chek stores remain open their normal hours.

Wawa said it has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting all touch points and surfaces.

"Our supply chain continues to focus on ensuring stores have essential items in stock from fuel to food," the chain said in a statement.

QuickChek said it is also making sure that its self-checkout machines, instant lottery machines and food & beverage equipment are sanitized frequently.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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