SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) — As coronavirus fears grow, hundreds of people lined up at Costco stores across the Southland Thursday to stock up on supplies.
Aerial footage taken just after 10 a.m. showed a line winding all through the parking lot outside a store located in Canyon Country. Others in Atwater Village and Fontana were similarly impacted.
Despite the mad dash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said reports that scuffles had broken out between shoppers in line at the Canyon Country Costco were unfounded.
“Please don’t call 911 because people are cutting in front of you in line at the store,” the sheriff’s department tweeted. “It ties up valuable resources for real emergencies!”
“All is calm over at Costco,” the department later tweeted.
The hot items people are looking for are water, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer — all of which are being sold in limited quantities to each shopper and are still in short supply at Costco stores across Southern California.
“Everybody is buying whatever they can, whatever they find,” said Rosario Swanson, adding that she braved the crowds because she wants her family to be prepared for a worst case scenario.
“Just in case we get a quarantine,” she said.
While some shoppers didn’t mind the lines, saying that they were willing to wait over an hour to have the peace of mind that they are prepared for the coronavirus, Others said they think the panic buying is an overreaction.
“It’s a little out of control, I think people are panicking to a certain extent,” said Melvin Soto, another Costco shopper. He said he wonders what kind of unnecessary strain this is putting on those who have to go to multiple stores searching for sold out items.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — is spread from person-to-person through close contact, usually within 6 feet, and mainly via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. People are likely most contagious when they are most symptomatic. Coronavirus can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose and eyes.