Legislation to limit grocery store hoarding? San Mateo County Supervisor Canepa is considering it. | News | Almanac Online |


Legislation to limit grocery store hoarding? San Mateo County Supervisor Canepa is considering it.

In order for all area residents to have important local information on the coronavirus health emergency, AlmanacNews.com has lifted its pay meter and is providing unlimited access to its website. We need your support to continue our important work. Please join your neighbors and become a subscribing member today.

By this point in the coronavirus crisis, any Bay Area resident who has been to a grocery store over the past few weeks knows the scene: Long lines. Anxious customers. Empty shelves.

As the total number of coronavirus cases in California has risen to 1,849 and Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order on Thursday evening, the grocery stores remain both busy and with curtailed supply, with staples like dry goods and toilet paper especially hard to find.

But as the image of an empty grocery store shelf is quickly becoming a symbol of the coronavirus saga, one San Mateo County supervisor says he has a solution: Limit the number of items customers can purchase at one time.

In a statement sent out on March 17, county Supervisor David Canepa lamented the grocery store “hoarding,” saying he was concerned that it “jeopardizes the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents.”

"This is unacceptable,” Canepa said in a written statement. “I will propose legislation to mandate purchase limits to no more than four items during the COVID-19 shelter in place order. We can get through this if we consider that the needs of our neighbors are equal to our own needs. Selfishness and greed put lives at risk."

Canepa’s policy adviser Bill Silverfarb confirmed that the supervisor’s office has drawn up a resolution regarding grocery store hoarding, which Canepa is considering going forward with. However, Silverfarb added, it remains undecided whether the supervisor will introduce the legislation or if another solution may be found.

He said that solution may come in the form of discussions with the California Grocers Association, who may devise another way to mitigate the dwindling grocery store shelves.

“We are talking with the state grocers association now,” Silverfarb said. “We will know more in the coming days.”

Meanwhile, The Almanac contacted the offices of supervisors Don Horsley and Warren Slocum for their thoughts on Canepa’s potential anti-hoarding legislation.

“Interesting, but I suspect that the store is in a better position to limit purchases,” Horsley said.

Slocum did not respond for comment by press time.


Sign up for Almanac Express to get news updates. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or show your support for local journalism by subscribing.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


8 people like this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 22, 2020 at 12:26 pm

The way "purchase limits to no more than four items" is presented is nonsensical. There is clearly some level of detail missing.

Are we talking no more than 4 packs of any one item that is in high demand e.g. toilet paper (seems reasonable), no more than four of any specific item (bananas are not selling out, 4 bananas for a family of 6 is not a lot of bananas, seems silly), or no more than four items total (seems crazy, can't even make a decent salad, and there is no shortage of fruits and vegetables)?

6 people like this
Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Mar 22, 2020 at 6:52 pm

Of course, exceptions must be made for those who purchase more than for their personal needs, so they might offer them to "sheltered" neighbors.

Canepa needs to "shelter in place" and stay off his computer.

2 people like this
Posted by Cultists On The Loose Again
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2020 at 7:54 pm

You know, Hickey -- YOU are the one that needs to stay away from your computer, posting nonsense like that.

You sure you didn't contract COVID-19?

12 people like this
Posted by concerned resident
a resident of Atherton: other
on Mar 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm

Totally agree that people need to stop hoarding. Whatever steps are taken though please take into account that some of us are shopping for elderly family members who cannot go to the store. We also want people to be able to limit trips to the store due to exposure - so it makes sense to buy for a week at a time.

5 people like this
Posted by Linda McGeever
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Mar 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm

This seems contrary to the "limit your trips to once/week by the same individual in your household" rule of thumb.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Stay up to date on local coronavirus coverage with our daily news digest email.

The first few seconds after awakening; before I remember the virus
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,528 views

Can you stay healthy without making more trash?
By Sherry Listgarten | 2 comments | 1,820 views

Think about helping others in our coronavirus-affected area
By Diana Diamond | 3 comments | 1,710 views

'A devastating impact:' The coronavirus claims Clarke's Charcoal Broiler, Mountain View's oldest operating restaurant
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 762 views



The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

View Details