Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb stopped by KRIS 6 News this morning to ask the community to not monopolize food and household goods, allowing H-E-B and Walmart and other area grocery stores to be able to operate effectively.
"H-E-B and others have assured us that we’ve got plenty of product -- they just have to have time to get it to Corpus Christi (and) get it back on their shelves," McComb said Saturday morning.
The Texas-based grocery chain announced Saturday that it will be limiting the hours in which it is open to the public, effective Saturday night. The new hours will be in place until further notice.
"(The panic-buying has) impacted them to the point where they’re gonna be shutting down their stores – they’re gonna be open from 8 in the morning to 8 at night so they can re-stock, get the inventory down (to Corpus Christi)," McComb said.
H-E-B reportedly implemented the policy Friday night with stores in the Houston area, and has now made it effective to all H-E-B-owned stores in every city.
As H-E-B focuses on serving Texas, shortened hours allow H-E-B Partners to work diligently overnight to fully prepare the store for customers during the day. Today, all H-E-B stores will implement temporary modified hours. Tonight (3/14) all of our stores will close at 8pm,— H-E-B (@HEB) March 14, 2020
The news release states that its stores' complete restocking takes place overnight, and the change in hours allows employees more time to effectively prepare for the next day.
McComb said H-E-B Director of Emergency Preparedness Justin Noakes told him this is the case.
"There's no need to hoard the product or to panic-buy," McComb said. "The panic-buying is not gonna benefit anybody. As a matter of fact, it could create some problems for others that don’t get (to the stores) and really do need to be able to get to the grocery store and get some supplies."
H-E-B said services in floral, deli and the bakery will also be affected, as resources are redirected from those departments to other parts of the stores.
McComb said he looks forward to things getting "back to normal."
"Hopefully this is going to be passing in the next week or so and we’ll get back to normal routine," he said. "Just continue to maintain what you’re doing. I think -- working together -- we’ll get this done."
H-E-B, as with all grocery stores nationwide, has seen its supplies depleted daily since panic about COVID-19 began. The policy also would reduce the amount of customers taking supplies off of restocking carts before employees are able to put stock on shelves.
"I would say we’ll be joining hands, but right now we don’t want to join hands," he said with a smile. "But we do want to work together, think of each other be friendly to our neighbors. That’s really all I’m asking."