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Crowds of shoppers lined up outside of Bay Area stores Saturday morning and quickly picked shelves clean of frozen foods, meat, bread and toilet paper, as anxiety over coronavirus led many to stock up on supplies.
Following a week in which the number of COVID-19 cases increased while efforts to contain the novel illness seemed to grow more restrictive by the day, the rush to stock pantries seemed to reflect the rising collective anxiety of a region that has been at the center of the pandemic’s outbreak in the United States.
Chicken and beef were practically gone from a Smart and Final in Pleasanton, which has limited how much of certain items — like hand soap, pasta, instant ramen, rice and beans — shoppers could buy to stop people from hoarding.
#Costco in Richmond #CA closes entrance 28 minutes after opening because store is at capacity of 2,500 people, workers say. Toilet paper sold out already #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/hBnilZlFP0
— Thomas Peele (@thomas_peele) March 14, 2020
A line of people holding umbrellas and pushing empty carts waited in the rain outside a Costco in South San Francisco. And another location of the warehouse store in Richmond pulled down the garage door at its entrance because it had already reached its capacity less than half an hour after opening.
In Fremont, people who gathered outside a Target store early in the morning seemed to head straight for…