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WATCH: Las Vegas area officials discuss 'panic buying,' encourage 'smart buying'

Posted at 1:06 PM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 11:33:10-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Officials in the Las Vegas area say there is no need for residents to empty store shelves of goods and encourage "smart buying" over "panic buying."

Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Vegas Chamber President and CEO Mary Beth Sewald and Vice President of Risk Management for Truline Corp. Dave Brower got together to speak to the issue on Sunday at the amphitheater of the Clark County Government Center.

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Watch the discussion below:

“The supply chains that provide Southern Nevada all of its goods remain strong,” said Kirkpatrick, who noted that 92% of goods are delivered by trucking companies.

“There simply is no reason to clear the shelves of our local retailers," she said. "Panic shopping only induces more of the same. I’m asking everyone to be smarter about this for the good of the community.”

The county says residents should be strategic about their purchases and have enough food, medicine and supplies in their homes to last about 14 days. That is the average length of time that a family that comes down with coronavirus may be quarantined.

To date, the health district has announced 16 cases in Clark County.

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The supply chain is robust and is expected to improve further with the federal relaxation of rules for how many hours truck drivers can be on the road.

Drivers are allowed 11 hours of driving time in a 14-hour day. Due to the sharp increase in demand for goods at retail outlets, drivers are spending an inordinate amount of time lined up at distribution centers, exceeding an average of six hours nationally, which has cut into the number of hours they are allowed to spend on the road hauling goods.

The relaxation of federal rules will allow more flexibility while maintaining safety, officials said.

“Thanks to the swift action by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, our supply chain is getting back up and running," said Mary Beth Sewald, president and CEO of the Vegas Chamber.

"We encourage our community to remain calm and have confidence that the food and medical supplies they need will be readily available," she added. “We appreciate the truck drivers, distribution workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store employees, and all who are keeping our stores stocked and businesses clean.”

“Transportation deals with the surge in demand annually at Christmas,” said Dave Brower, vice president of Risk Management for Truline Corp. “We have the ability to gear up and meet the demand.”

The Nevada Retail Association suggests these tips for shopping during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Make a plan of what you already have and what your family needs during a 2-week period.
  • Have a prepared list before you go to the store but be flexible if products are not available.
  • Consider products like frozen meals and vegetables and be aware of expiration dates.
  • Limit quantities to a few weeks supply to help ensure that more products are available to more customers.
  • Try to avoid shopping during rush hours to reduce wait times and large crowds.

The Southern Nevada Health District’s website, SouthernNevadaHealthDistrict.org/coronavirus, is a recommended local resource for staying informed about the evolving coronavirus situation.

Residents also can call the Health District’s Information Phone Line at (702) 759-INFO (4636), 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Stay with 13 Action News for the latest with stories on the coronavirus.