Legislation to limit grocery store hoarding? San Mateo County Supervisor Canepa is considering it. | News | Almanac Online |

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Legislation to limit grocery store hoarding? San Mateo County Supervisor Canepa is considering it.

 
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By this point in the coronavirus crisis, any Bay Area resident who has been to a grocery store over the past few weeks knows the scene: Long lines. Anxious customers. Empty shelves.

As the total number of coronavirus cases in California has risen to 1,849 and Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order on Thursday evening, the grocery stores remain both busy and with curtailed supply, with staples like dry goods and toilet paper especially hard to find.

But as the image of an empty grocery store shelf is quickly becoming a symbol of the coronavirus saga, one San Mateo County supervisor says he has a solution: Limit the number of items customers can purchase at one time.

In a statement sent out on March 17, county Supervisor David Canepa lamented the grocery store “hoarding,” saying he was concerned that it “jeopardizes the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents.”

"This is unacceptable,” Canepa said in a written statement. “I will propose legislation to mandate purchase limits to no more than four items during the COVID-19 shelter in place order. We can get through this if we consider that the needs of our neighbors are equal to our own needs. Selfishness and greed put lives at risk."

Canepa’s policy adviser Bill Silverfarb confirmed that the supervisor’s office has drawn up a resolution regarding grocery store hoarding, which Canepa is considering going forward with. However, Silverfarb added, it remains undecided whether the supervisor will introduce the legislation or if another solution may be found.

He said that solution may come in the form of discussions with the California Grocers Association, who may devise another way to mitigate the dwindling grocery store shelves.

“We are talking with the state grocers association now,” Silverfarb said. “We will know more in the coming days.”

Meanwhile, The Almanac contacted the offices of supervisors Don Horsley and Warren Slocum for their thoughts on Canepa’s potential anti-hoarding legislation.

“Interesting, but I suspect that the store is in a better position to limit purchases,” Horsley said.

Slocum did not respond for comment by press time.

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Comments

8 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 22, 2020 at 12:26 pm

The way "purchase limits to no more than four items" is presented is nonsensical. There is clearly some level of detail missing.

Are we talking no more than 4 packs of any one item that is in high demand e.g. toilet paper (seems reasonable), no more than four of any specific item (bananas are not selling out, 4 bananas for a family of 6 is not a lot of bananas, seems silly), or no more than four items total (seems crazy, can't even make a decent salad, and there is no shortage of fruits and vegetables)?


6 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 22, 2020 at 6:52 pm

Of course, exceptions must be made for those who purchase more than for their personal needs, so they might offer them to "sheltered" neighbors.

Canepa needs to "shelter in place" and stay off his computer.


2 people like this
Posted by Cultists On The Loose Again
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2020 at 7:54 pm

You know, Hickey -- YOU are the one that needs to stay away from your computer, posting nonsense like that.

You sure you didn't contract COVID-19?


12 people like this
Posted by concerned resident
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Totally agree that people need to stop hoarding. Whatever steps are taken though please take into account that some of us are shopping for elderly family members who cannot go to the store. We also want people to be able to limit trips to the store due to exposure - so it makes sense to buy for a week at a time.


5 people like this
Posted by Linda McGeever
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Mar 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm

This seems contrary to the "limit your trips to once/week by the same individual in your household" rule of thumb.


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