Local supermarkets were extremely busy today due to shoppers being concerned about having enough food and other supplies during the COVID-19 emergency.

On Friday morning, extremely crowded conditions and long lines were reported at the Freshco store at the Hawkesbury Mall.  At Asselin Independent Grocer on Highway 17, the toilet paper section of the store was completely empty, and a traffic jam of shoppers and carts jockeyed for places in long checkout lines.  At the Walmart next door, the parking lot was full and there were reports that the police were there directing traffic during the morning.  By the early afternoon, the store was still busy, but the lines were relatively short.

At the Maxi supermarket in Lachute on Friday afternoon, the parking lot was full and the checkout lines long.  Staff and customers alike were not locking up the shopping carts in order to avoid having to insert a loonie into them as a return deposit.  Only a few small packages of single-roll toilet paper remained on the shelves, but there were more at a nearby sale display where a sign read that there was a limit of two packages per customer.  The pasta, rice, flour, and household cleaning products aisles also showed signs of depletion, but not as significant as the toilet paper.

Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes have been nearly impossible to find in recent days at local supermarkets and drugstores.

There was some toilet paper in stock at the Maxi in Lachute on Friday, but it was being limited to two packages per customer. Photo: James Morgan