Toilet paper supplies at stores across Edmonton seem to be disappearing quickly, as people stock up on supplies and brace for the coronavirus.
Photos of empty shelves in stores where rows of toilet paper normally would have been are circulating on social media.
There is no hope for mankind. It’s a respiratory disease folks. You don’t breath out of your ass. Superstore is now out of toilet paper. Costco is out. #yeg #virus #coronavirus #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/MLEsaJFqmx— Joe Chowaniec Images (@JoeisCranky) March 7, 2020
NO toilet paper @Costco yellowhead Edmonton and paper towel is at a minimum!— Able Seaman Darren Priske Ret'd (@DarrenDnd6169) March 7, 2020
531 people walked (ran, jostled and pushed) into Edmonton South Costco in the first 1/2 hour this morning.
All of them looking for toilet paper. #ToiletPaperEmergency
And it’s not just toilet paper that’s in demand.
"Hand sanitizers, isopropyl alcohol, all your Lysol wipes, baby wipes, anything that they can seem to get their hands on for cleaning and sanitizing," said Jeff Millar, who’s the manager of Andy’s IGA.
Miller said the spike started last weekend.
"The volume increase has to be, in my mind, probably I’m gonna say somewhere between five and ten times normal volume for what we would sell for those kinds of products," he told CTV News Edmonton.
"When toilet paper’s on sale we might go through 80 to 100 cases for the week. We are now going through 80 to 100 cases in a day,"
Some customers who talked to CTV News Edmonton said they were stocking up.
"I need to know when I need toilet paper, a fresh roll, I’ve got it," said Jodi Brown. "People are saying they’re buying all this toilet paper so I feel like I need to too."
Others don’t think coronavirus warrants all the hype.
"It doesn’t cause diarrhea and stuff so I’m not sure what people are thinking,” said shopper David Boroditsky. “I think it’s just kind of maybe people are panicking and full of fear and it’s a thing that you can do that you feel like it makes you safe."
The toilet paper panic is happening around the globe, with some retailers taking drastic action to limit the number of toilet paper rolls each person can buy.
Australian supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles both began limiting toilet paper purchases to four packs per person this week. Costco Australia is also restricting how much toilet tissue, disinfectant, milk, eggs and rice each customer can buy.
In the United States, Kroger says it is capping individual purchases of "sanitization, cold and flu-related products," while Home Depot is curbing the number of face masks in single orders placed online and in stores.
With files from CTVNews.ca and CNN and CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson.