H-E-B, Central Market to Reduce Hours Due to Coronavirus

NBC 5 News

A grocery store chain with more than 400 stores in Texas and Mexico is reducing store hours in an effort to reduce hoarding of groceries and supplies and to give it time to restock as shoppers purchase large quantities of groceries and cleaning supplies.

San Antonio-based H-E-B LP announced Saturday it will close all stores at 8 p.m. Saturday and operate from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily until further notice. The change in hours also applies to Central Market, which is owned by H-E-B.

H-E-B spokeswoman Dya Campos said the reduced hours will give the stores time to restock the items in high demand from shoppers apparently worried about the spread of the coronavirus.

"There is no need for panic buying, this is not like a hurricane," H-E-B spokeswoman Dya Campos told The Associated Press. "This should not be a `stock up' event."

Campos said the company is also closing in-store restaurants in about 20 stores and using those employees to help the grocery operations.

Hours vary at the stores from 24-hours a day to 6 a.m. until midnight, Campos said.

The vast majority of people recover within weeks. It causes only mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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