Coronavirus panic leads to long lines of anxious shoppers at Central Florida stores

Shoppers lined up early Saturday morning at stores across Central Florida looking for supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

At opening time, more than 100 people were waiting at the Sam’s Club on Rinehart Road in Sanford.

Because shoppers kept their “social distance," the line stretched more than 100 yards into the parking lot. 

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Many shoppers told FOX 35 they were looking for toilet tissue and other paper products. 

Most were were surprised at the very long line to get inside the store. Shoppers said store employees were walking the line giving updates on the most wanted items inside. 

“Yea, I really thought it would have been a little shorter," said Loretta White. "But there’s an employee walking around telling everybody there’s no paper products - very little milk. She’s letting everybody know, so we wouldn’t have to stand in line if we didn’t have to."

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Inside the store, shoppers lined up for a limited supply of toilet tissue. An hour after opening, the lines were gone and it was business as usual.

At the Costco in Altamonte Springs employees let customers take turns going inside, and signs showed what was in stock.

Over at Publix, new no dining restrictions forced Mark Heppel to eat his lunch on the tailgate of his truck. He watched supplies sell quickly.

“Seems like they’re going after the necessities, the meat, toilet paper, milk,” he said.

Grant Downing, who was doing his weekly shopping wanted to get a quart of milk but left with a single serving bottle instead. 

“It’s disappointing to see people hoard but on the same token it’s encouraging to see people taking it seriously so it’s a two-edged sword,” he said. 

On Saturday, the Florida Department of Health announced that coronavirus cases in the state have jumped to 658. That's up from 563 on Friday. There are now 603 positive Florida residents, 55 non-Florida residents, and 12 deaths reported. Read more HERE.