Shoppers say Costco stores were mobbed with customers stocking up over the weekend as panic over coronavirus heightens in the US

Shoppers outside a Costco store in Honolulu on Saturday. Reuters/Duane Tanouye
  • Costco stores were overrun with shoppers over the weekend as customers stocked up on goods to prepare for the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Photos and videos shared online show long lines of customers both outside and in various Costco stores.
  • Other images show bare shelves after customers stocked up on staple items.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US and Canadian consumers are flocking to Costco stores to stock up as panic over the spread of the coronavirus intensifies.

Over the weekend, shoppers shared videos and photos of their local Costco stores on social media, documenting the giant lines of customers that stretched outside the store and across the parking lot.

Many of these shoppers also shared pictures of the empty shelves in their local stores.

Here’s a look inside:

This Costco store in Tigard, Oregon, had long lines on Saturday after Oregon’s first case of the coronavirus was reported in the nearby city of Lake Oswego.


By the time a photographer had visited the store, it was already out of key products such as toilet paper.


A giant line formed outside a Costco store in Honolulu on Saturday after the Hawaii Department of Health advised residents to stock up on food and necessities earlier in the week.


Source: Reuters

Duane Tanouye, a retired telecommunications worker who took photographs of the Honolulu Costco that were shared by Reuters, said 200 people were in line outside the store.


He told Reuters that the store was limiting how much shoppers could buy of certain products such as toilet paper.


Despite the restrictions, his photos show customers loading up their carts with large quantities of these items.

There have been mixed messages about how to prepare for the spread of the virus. While Hawaii advised people to stock up, Robert Redfield, the director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, told Congress on Thursday that it wasn’t necessary to do so.^tfw

Source: LA Times

But shoppers don’t seem to be taking Redfield’s advice.^tfw

The panic over the virus has created sales spikes for certain items.

Source: Business Insider

According to Nielsen data, sales of toilet paper were up 5.4% in the US in the week ending January 25 compared with last year.

And bottled water saw a 2.4% sales increase in the same period.

And because of the panic, many of these staple items are out of stock in certain Costco stores …

… leaving shelves in some parts of the store bare.^tfw