HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and leaders from major grocery store chains held a news conference Monday to give updates on how they are handling the COVID-19 health crisis.
Here are the top takeaways:
Grocery stores in Houston are not shutting down
Turned addressed the rumors that stores would be shutting down. He made it clear that local grocery stores will be remaining open and are, in fact, hiring.
“Regardless of what the CDC announcement (to not have gatherings of 50 or more), grocery stores are not shutting down,” Turner said. “One of the big indicators … is that they are hiring.”
There is no threat to the supply chain
Scott McClelland with H-E-B reassured people that there is no shortage of supply coming to H-E-B stores across the state. McClelland said that while there may not be as much variety in items, there is no threat to the supply chain.
Joe Kelly with Kroger and Christy Lara with Randalls also emphasized the same points saying their stores have distribution centers working around the clock to ensure stores stay stocked with everything from meat to cleaning supplies.
“We will have groceries in our store,” Kelly said. “We will not close down.”
Due to increased demand, grocery stores are hiring
Turner said this is a great indicator that the supply chain is going strong.
“Certainly they would not be hiring people if they thought they were going to be running out of food,” Turner said. “If you’re going to run out of food, why hire people and bring them on for one day or one week.”
Only buy what you need
Because there is no threat to the supply, Turner advised people to only buy what they need. He also asked shoppers to be sensitive to the needs of others.
“There are a lot of people, as I have said, that are going in and buying up all the stuff,” Turner said. “Those people are not Houstonians. They’re not from our city. They’re visitors. Because Houstonians, we just don’t operate that way.”
The water in Houston is safe to use
A representative with Houston Public Works recommended people only flush small amounts of toilet paper and nothing more. He also agreed with Turner that the water in the city is safe.
“You don’t have to buy any water,” he said. “You can just use the water right there out of your sink.”
Turner said they will continue to monitor the CDC’s recommendation and will be evaluating next steps as needed. For now, he said people should not panic and pace themselves.
“There is no reason to form the big lines and buy everything at one time,” Turner said. “This (crisis) you have to manage. You have to pace yourself because we are going to be in this situation for the next several weeks, if not several months … You don’t want to go an spend your entire check and then two weeks from now you may find yourself needing some of those dollars back.