Lockdowns, part 2

Welp, a new round of lockdowns in several states across the US, and less than a day after the Governor announced specifics here in Washington state, there are already wide reports of empty shelves and mayhem at the grocery stores.  Canned food and toilet paper, once again, have been wiped out (sorry for the bad pun).

My household was already stocked up and steered clear of the stores this weekend, but I can’t help but to shake my head at the inability of the broader public to assess situations and plan ahead – how anyone could be surprised by these new lockdowns is beyond me. It’s really disappointing, and reminds me that we are actually prepping for two things at once: the disaster that strikes, and the disaster of the masses who seem unable to recognize, and plan for, the potential threats around them.  


  • Comments (23)

    • 4

      Here in Mississippi, the stores are well stocked.  Went to Walmart Saturday & picked up 2 more big packs of TP & 2 of paper towels.  Went ahead & got lots more Kleenex.  Only thing not in stock was disinfectant wipes but another store has had huge quantities of those for a few months and I am well stocked.

      • 7

        To be clear, our stores were well stocked just a couple days ago and in the weeks prior.  Our governor announced Sunday morning that a new round of lockdowns would go into effect the next day, which is what triggered the panic shopping.  The frustrating thing is that it was incredibly easy to predict these new lockdowns were coming, yet they seemingly surprised the majority of the population.  

    • 4

      I tend to minimize costco visits but did venture out in the last week or so.   I noticed they had run out of TP at 2 stores and had low supplies of paper towels at another in LA.  I am glad I have remained true to my ‘at least 2 months’ supply guideline for non-perishables.  It made me wonder if manufacturing had been affected as stock wasn’t noticeably low for other items that were limited in April like canned goods.  Thanks for the warning!  I’m sure it will happen here if/when we end up restricted in some way.  Already seeing suggested quarantine before/after travel and potentially a curfew.  

    • 7

      No lockdowns/orders in our state but neighboring ones do have increasing restrictions. We haven’t been in a grocery or big box store in months, but I went to buy some dish and hand soap from Target to restock a couple bottles, and once again there are a bunch of shipping restrictions on numerous products (at least in my area). Most of the dish and hand soaps are no longer available for delivery in my area, you need to use Shipt or pickup. That’s what it was like in the spring.

      • 4

        Meanwhile, my family has started being more prepared which is fabulous. The odd part is that they used the summer/fall to overstock absurd amounts of some things, but not enough of others. For example, my mom and dad live alone and they have over 200 rolls of toilet paper. That’s 9 of those big 24 packs for two people, one of whom works outside the home most weekdays. But every time I talk to them, they keep talking about how they were out at this store and that store to pick up one grocery item or another. They are high risk and really shouldn’t be bopping around to multiple stores every weekend but they say they need to. *shrug* 

    • 5

      Last time I was out at my Costco was a week or two before the election. Toilet paper was totally out. 

      I heard from some family, who have gone shopping recently, that stores will absolutely not let anyone in unless they are wearing a mask. Even if you have a health problem that prevents you from wearing one, you aren’t allowed inside.

      The panic buying is very interesting to me. I loved watching it to try and understand my fellow humans and how people think and react.  I will admit that I was guilty of panic buying at the beginning back in March, not knowing what would happen, and if things would ever be in stock again. But I think people should have learned some things since the first lockdown, but from what I am hearing, they haven’t. Here is what I learned from the first lockdown, which is helping me out mentally to not go on a panic buying spree.

      • Grocery stores did not close down and were open when most everything else was shut down, because it was an essential business. If grocery stores did shut down completely, and with how unprepared most of America is, I am sure things would go bad so quickly. 
      • Even when the first round of panic buying happened, and most stores had completely bare shelves, things came back shortly after. A good steady supply of TP though was the first to go and the last to come back. 
      • The biggest problem I encountered was during the time of the riots and protests. All the local grocery stores shut down at like 5pm and had armed security outside of the front doors. This made it hard for me to buy anything because at the time I was working 10 hour days, so I couldn’t go to the store before or after work. 

      What are your thoughts about everything going on? Are you out trying to stock up as much as you can? How do you think this next round of lockdowns and panic buying will be different than the first? I personally think it won’t be as dramatic and severe. 

      • 5

        I think stores may reduce the hours they are open due to staff members testing positive or needing to stay away from others for a while. Stores that may have been open 24 hours in the past may not any more so that a reduced staff can re-stock. Stores that were open two shifts in the past may cut back to one shift. That happened with a sporting goods store in my town.

        I’m stocking up more than in spring because two family members in a separate household had health setbacks unrelated to covid, and I’m doing some shopping for them. Winter is coming, and I want to minimize my trips to the store (don’t want to slip and fall on snow or ice).

    • 11

      I’m super grateful I have the resources, time, and mental energy to engage in ANY preparedness. My family is more prepared now than we’ve ever been, but I geek out on this stuff occasionally and have a stable, healthy family with lots of friends and community support.

      This entire culture conspires to distract and confuse us about what’s important.

      It’s a privilege to be prepared. We can help others and connect with those who need help by offering our support. State-by-state lists of people to help and connect with can be found here.

      • 5

        Very wise words.  Thanks for the important reminder that being prepared is a privilege, it is easy to lose sight of that.

      • 6

        Good point about being privileged. Something to be grateful for.

    • 7

      I am not an American, but my country also started a second lockdown a couple weeks ago. Stores are adequately supplied, though there was panic buying at the very start making it impossible to buy toilet paper, canned food or even beer for the first couple of days.

      I am increasingly worried about the economy, as current policies are paving the ways for small non-essential businesses to die out in favor of malls and online sellers, that are authorized to sell the same products unhindered.

    • 4

      I have all the essentials. 

      What I’m stocking up on is arts and crafts. My kid was so bored last time. 

      Also hitting up my local small businesses and getting my Christmas shopping done early. The only person I have left is my daughter, but she has the longest list. 

    • 6

      I’ve been a prepper for a few years now… so I tell myself “It’s not panic buying when you’re just topping up your collection.”  But I am afraid I have no pity at this point for the unprepared… beyond recognizing that some persons are struggling financially and it can be difficult to prep in that type of situation.   Anyone with modest means that doesn’t have at least a two week supply of food at this point hasn’t been paying attention.  I would say that one months worth has become the minimum. 

      • 4

        I’m at three months rotating food preps. My biggest fear is a power outage because I have to rely too heavily on my freezers for this storage. Can’t be helped at point. 

        Starting on the more long term stuff. It’s just a bit more expensive so is going real slow on that front. 

        I agree, everyone needs at least a month minimum on food stores. 

      • 8

        I have been building DIY solar generators to handle the multiple freezers I have. Here is a good video if anyone is interested. Mine is a bit scaled back from what this guy did but this is a very thorough video to provide all the info you need. 

      • 8

        That sure is awesome! I’ve been wanting to make one of those, Maybe next year.

        I’d love to see the one you made, and some of the lessons you learned through it. 

      • 6

        i agree with gideon. i would love to see your setup.

      • 5

        Way out of my comfort zone / skill set… but for off the shelf, last time I checked, the Inergy Kodiak is a good contender for a plug & play solar generator for not a lot more than the guy in the video spent.

      • 4

        I have two Humless solar generators and they are amazing.  Wish I had the smarts to make my own.  My largest is a 1500 series.  I keep one in my office and one stored in a Faraday enclosure.  Big freezers pull a lot of power so I don’t plan on using mine for that.  I’ll use my gas powered generators to keep them cold until we eat down the food.  I do have an ARB dc powered refrigerator/freezer for the long haul, which a solar generator can easily handle.  I keep plenty of solar panels in storage to handle these plus my Grundfos flex well pump, which can run directly off of solar panels.

        Here is my smaller unit getting recharged.


        Here is a 1500:


    • 7

      I’ve been seeing on the news and hearing from family in California that they are enacting full covid-19 lockdowns in certain counties and may soon state wide. That is such a populated state, I cant imagine what it must be like. 

      Anyone here living in California and can give us an update on how things are for you?

      • 6

        Hi Robert.  I’m in SoCal and been watching the numbers rise once again.  It has hit my neighbors (who have recovered, thankfully) so I’ve had a reminder how it can still spread into the homes of careful people.  Around Thanksgiving, the restrictions increased.  And tomorrow will be another shutdown scenario. There are once again lines to enter grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Lowes was pretty empty on Saturday morning.  There are outdoor dining areas around restaurants that will now remain empty.  The key indicator will be traffic.  In March it was eerily gone and steadily increased.  It’s still not to its pre-pandemic level, and had a surge around Thanksgiving despite all recommendations to stay home and minimize exposures.  

      • 5

        I am in San Diego area.  We go into a more restrictive lock down on Monday.  I was at Costco this morning to get our weekly shopping done.  The line to get in was pretty long but supplies in general were good. They don’t usually open until 10 am so I got there at 9:15 to get gas and then got into line to get in.  They started letting people in around 9:45.  There were also just letting 20% of capacity this morning in the store at the same time, and it was one out/one in when I checked out.  I’d say about 10% of people take their masks off when they leave the store and walk to their cars. I’m pretty good at staying home except when I need to get fresh supplies or go into work.  We have been blessed to not have anyone close to us get COVID.

      • 3

        In Northern California and so far not that different from how it’s been most of the year.  My kid is still doing remote-learning.  There’s a curfew now but it doesn’t do much for us because we don’t really go anywhere.  The biggest different is really that I’ve had a small (5 person) book group meeting distanced & masked & we are decamping to Zoom.  There are lines for the stores but I get Imperfect Food delivery and don’t go out much anyway.