Parkites engage in ‘panic buying’ |

Parkites engage in ‘panic buying’

By Patrick Parkinson Of the Record staff

Parkites are buying hand sanitizer, face masks and cleaning supplies as they hear that three local children might have contracted the strain of swine flu that has killed people in Mexico.

"It started yesterday. People are just freaking out," Rush Hotchkiss, the grocery manager at Park City Market, said Thursday. "It’s probably tripled as far as what our normal sales would be."

Park City Market checker Destiny Grose said people are stocking up so they don’t have to leave the house as much over the next few days.

Face masks painters normally use were sold out Thursday, Grose said.

"Even the banks and restaurants are coming in," Grose said.

More people were wiping carts with sanitary towels before shopping Thursday, Hotchkiss said.

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"I think it’s interesting," Grose said. "There are a lot bigger orders and people are actively buying cleaning products."

Smith’s Food and Drug at Kimball Junction was sold out of hand sanitizer Thursday.

"We’re trying to get some out of our Salt Lake stores, but we’re experiencing a lot of the same thing in our Salt Lake stores," said Paul Strevay, store director at Smith’s.

"It’s even worse up here because of the school closure. People are going into a panic state of mind."

Strevay said he also needs more masks and latex gloves on the shelves.

"We’re trying to get as much as we can up here because of the threat that we have had," Strevay said. "We have gone out and ordered a truckload of water, Clorox wipes, Lysol wipes, spray Lysol and anything else we thought might be used in this epidemic."

Food purchases were also larger than normal on Thursday morning, he said.

"People are thinking, let’s go to the store and buy a week’s worth of groceries so they can just stay home," Strevay said. "At six o’clock this morning I had $300 and $400 orders going out of the store, and that’s absolutely unusual. One gentleman had come in and had filled three full baskets."