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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Harris Teeter, Publix To Begin Closing Early To Replenish Stock, Clean

Harris Teeter and Publix will close its grocery stores in the Charlotte area early each night in an effort to more thoroughly clean stores and replenish stock that has been decimated by coronavirus fears, the stores announced.

Starting Sunday, Harris Teeter will close stores at 9 p.m. until further notice. Stores will open at their regular time.

The early closing is “to focus on cleaning, replenishment and the well-being of our valued associates,” said a news release for the Matthews-based store.

Publix announced Saturday that it will close its stores at 8 p.m. nightly until further notice “to better serve our customers, give our store teams time to conduct additional preventive sanitation and restock product on shelves.”

In a news release, Publix CEO Todd Jones said purchase limits will be applied to "key items," adding, "We are working tirelessly to have the items you need on our shelves."

Charlotte-area shelves have been emptied by nervous shoppers who are stocking up on basic supplies, presumably out of fear that they might be quarantined at home for a lengthy period.

Toilet paper shelves have been cleared out at most grocery and drug stores.

On Saturday morning, the Plaza Midwood Harris Teeter had empty shelves where staples such as eggs, potatoes, meat and numerous vegetables normally are.

Stores have not reported supply issues, but stock has been bought up quickly whenever it's made available.

Credit Mona Lita Carr
Harris Teeter and Publix aren't the only grocery stores with stock problems. This Charlotte-area Food Lion had empty shelves, too.

A Harris Teeter spokeswoman Saturday directed all inquiries to a release that said: “We know our communities need us, and that’s why our teams are working so hard to keep our stores open, stocked and clean. And that’s why our supply chain teams are working to ensure that the food, medicine and cleaning supplies our shoppers need are reaching our stores as quickly as possible and are available through ExpressLane Online Shopping and delivery, where available. We will continue to monitor our inventory and may limit quantities of specific items based on availability.”