Despite long lines and empty shelves, supermarkets in New Jersey say they are catching up after runs on toilet paper and sanitizer over the past week.

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 as he COVID-19 outbreak continues around the world.

Daniel Emmer, spokesman for Wakefern Food Corp., which operates ShopRite, PriceRite and other supermarkets in New Jersey, said they have seen an increase in demand for products such as disinfectant cleaners and wipes, bar and liquid soaps, water, paper products, and cough/cold and over-the-counter medicines.

"We are also working with our suppliers to do our best to keep these items on the shelf," Emmer said. "In an effort to ensure supply of these products remain available to as many shoppers as possible, especially those who need it most, we are limiting purchases of these items to two per customer."

Empty shelves at Stop & Shop in Neptune City (Bud McCormick)

Wegmans, with nine stores in New Jersey, said it is doing everything it can to stay open with minimal or no interruption.

"We recognize the heightened concern and are doing everything we can to protect our customers and employees," the company said on its website.

Wegmans said it has seen an increase in demand for paper products, cleaning supplies and "shelf stable food items" both in its stores and online.

"As demand for these items continues to grow and supply remains limited, we’re working with our current suppliers and pursuing additional sources to replenish our supply," Wegmans wrote.

Michelle Angermiller said the Acme in Hamilton in Mercer County was well-stocked with cereal but only single rolls of Scott toilet paper were left on the shelf.

"The bread aisle is looking like it does before a snowstorm," she said, adding that her husband waited an hour in line to check out of BJ's Wholesale in that township.

Empty shelves at Sam's Club in Freehold (Dave Kirby, Townsquare Media NJ)
Empty shelf at BJ's in Brick (Ocean County Scanner News)
Customers line up at the BJ's in Toms River (Ocean County Scanner News)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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