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Grocers including Giant restore purchase limits on toilet paper as COVID-19 cases surge

Some grocery store chains are bringing back limits on purchasing certain items including toilet paper as COVID-19 cases spike in the U.S.

In a statement to USA TODAY, Kroger said they have “proactively and temporarily set purchase limits to two per customer” on items including toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap. The limits went into effect around Monday, the grocer chain said.

Kroger operates stores under multiple brands in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The limits apply to both in-store and online orders.

H-E-B, which manages more than 400 stores mostly in Texas, imposed limits as of Oct. 31 on toilet paper and paper towels to stores in Border, Central Texas, Gulf Coast and San Antonio regions, according to a link on its website tracking purchase limits.

The chain also instituted purchase limits on items including disinfecting wipes as of Oct. 21.

The Giant Company, headquartered in Carlisle, Penn., has about 190 stores across the U.S., said on Oct. 29 it began limiting customers to buying one bundle of toilet paper and paper towels six rolls or larger and up to four single rolls or 4-roll packs of toilet paper and paper towels. The limits were place “as the supply chain for these products remains challenged,” the company said in a statement to USA TODAY.

“To be clear, we are seeing little evidence of stockpiling, and there is no need to create panic,” Giant said.

Wegmans, a Rochester, New York-based supermarket chain, said in a statement they have had limits on purchasing toilet paper and paper towels since May and will continue to maintain them.

When the coronavirus pandemic first upended the lives of Americans in March, consumers rushed to stores to stockpile products such as toilet paper, paper towels and disinfecting wipes.

The new limits arrive as COVID-19 cases surge. On Thursday, more than 121,000 cases of coronavirus were tallied across the country, the day after the U.S. moved past 100,000 cases a day for the first time ever.

Some Americans say they plan to stockpile on food as fears of a bump in COVID-19 cases and potential election unrest rise. A poll from Sports and Leisure Research Group, Engagious and ROKK Solution found slightly more than half of Americans said they already have or plan to stockpile food and other essentials.

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