Athens Mayor Monte Montgomery reported on Wednesday that he had communicated with officials from local grocery stores about some of the shortages of essential items that have arisen since the COVID-19 virus began to spread in the United States.
Montgomery said he visited the stores and was pleasantly surprised by his findings.
"The stores seemed well stocked except for a few items," Montgomery said. “The store personnel were working hard to meet the demands of the shoppers, who seemed in turn courteous and understanding.
The mayor said he has been receiving numerous calls from residents concerned about limited supplies at the local Brookshire's Walmart and Save-a-Lot.
" I took the opportunity to meet with the managers of our major grocery stores here in town. All of the stores managers agreed that last week was a difficult week and they saw supplies of paper goods and other high demand items drop drastically. This week however they are all very confident that the supply of food and non-perishable products (toilet paper, etc..) will be continuous. Several of the stores have placed limits on the numbers of certain items one person can buy and they are asking that everyone be understanding of these steps to help ensure all citizens have access to the necessities. I am so thankful to live in the City of Athens, where our citizens and businesses love and care for one another the way we do."
Recent visits to stores that carry groceries have reveals the shelves lacking many essential items. In other cases the selection was extremely limited. Some stores have posted signs in the aisles asking shoppers to buy what they need, but to leave some for others.
Since March 19, Athens has been under an emergency declaration issued by Montgomery. The declaration was extended on Monday by a vote of the city council.
Montgomery said some nearby cities have issued shelter-in-place orders for their residents. He said he doesn't foresee that in Athens, at least for the near future. Montgomery said State Senator Robert Nichols has asked mayors and county officials to refrain from issuing a shelter in place order.
"Before implementing a shelter in place ordinance, I would ask cities and counties to consider a measured and targeted data driven response based on the number of cases and their locations. All while taking into consideration the local workforce and allowing the last remaining local businesses, which are providing services to our local communities, to remain open as they adhere to best practices for preventing the spread of this virus," said Nichols in a statement.