Walmart reduces hours again due to coronavirus fears

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in the Houston area, shoppers have been seeing empty shelves at local grocery stores including H-E-B and Walmart.

Walmart:
Walmart locations will begin opening at 7:00 a.m. and remain open until 8:30 p.m. to give employees more time to replenish shelves. Stores that open later than 7 a.m. will continue their regular starting hours.



Randalls:
Randalls will shift its hours from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. until further notice.



H-E-B:

Sunday, H-E-B implemented free next day curbside ordering in efforts to limit public interaction. Anyone who has never ordered online food can watch a video on how to process their orders.



The grocer released a statement informing customers that it also limited store hours and the amount of products a customer can buy.

For the full list of limited food items, visit HEB.com.

Starting immediately all H-E-B, Joe V's Smart Shop, Mi Tienda and Central Market stores will begin closing at 8 p.m. and reopening at 8 a.m. until further notice.

The statement read: These temporary changes, along with some adjustment to our services, will help us keep our shelves stocked and help ensure our customers can secure the products they need as quickly as possible. Please remember that while preparation is important, panic is not necessary. We will return to our regular hours and full services as quickly as possible.

H-E-B released a statement ensuring customers they don't need to panic about empty shelves.

"At H-E-B, our top priority is taking care of Texas. While the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is an evolving situation with many unknowns, we are sure of one thing: We will do our part to help our fellow Texans prepare. As a state, we can help slow the spread of the virus by working together. H-E-B is prepared to help our fellow Texans in any situation our company and communities might face."

The grocer went on to explain that they have been preparing for months and have the ability to restock shelves.

"H-E-B has been preparing for coronavirus for several months and we are in a strong position to keep replenishing our shelves. Customers should not panic, we have the ability to restock shelves and encourage our customers to remain calm. H-E-B Partners are ready to help Texas slow the spread."

Trader Joe's:

Sunday, Trader Joe's joined the list of other big grocers limiting store hours due to large crowds and empty shelves.

Trader Joe's said in a statement:
"Beginning Monday, March 16th and until further notice, all Trader Joe's stores will be open from 9:00am until 7:00pm to support our Crew Members in taking care of one another and our customers."

Kroger:
Starting Saturday, March 14, all Kroger stores in the Houston-area will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Chinatown Stores
Many stores in Chinatown are fully stocked with toilet paper, meats, and shelf products like large bags of rice, according to ABC13 reporter Miya Shay.



Here's a full list of places you can visit, if you're having trouble finding supplies at your local-chain grocery stores.

Here are some empty shelf photos sent in by ABC13 viewers:

H-E-B in Richmond on Circle Oak Parkway



Trader Joe's on Shepherd Drive

Staff said they were busy on Thursday and reported seeing the line to pay was out the door at one point.


H-E-B in Pearland


H-E-B in Bellaire



Kroger in Rosenberg
Staff at the Kroger Marketplace in Rosenberg said they'd been working since 10 p.m. Thursday and restocked shelves through the night. As soon as they put products out, the items were immediately snatched up.







Map of COVID-19 cases across the US, updated as confirmed by CDC
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