As the number of people infected with COVID-19 in British Columbia continues to increase, officials are urging everyone to stay home, remain calm and stop hoarding supplies.
Those efforts to stockpile goods are completely unnecessary, according to Dr. Mark Colgate, of the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business.
“A lot of it is irrational, absolutely,” Colgate said. “It’s the scarcity principle: We always want more of what we can have less of. That is totally irrational and it drives us to buy things and spend money that we don’t need to spend right now.”
Canada’s supply lines are healthy and there is no reason to believe our stores are going to run out of food.
“Deliveries are showing up daily,” said Scott Travers, owner of Red Barn Market in Oak Bay, which was fully stocked on Wednesday. “Everything is still coming over from the mainland.”
Farther north on the island, the Quality Foods warehouse in Errington has 100,000 square feet of floor space and is packed to the roof. The warehouse supplies 12 Quality Foods locations on Vancouver Island.
“Right now, there’s a couple hundred thousand pounds coming in everyday and a couple hundred thousand going out,” said Noel Hayward, president of Quality Foods. “It’s a continuous thing. We have a great supply chain in Canada for grocery stores.”
On Wednesday, Canada and the United States announced they would be closing their border to most travellers. That closure will not affect the movement of goods across the border.
Also on Wednesday, B.C. declared a provincial state of emergency, which will give the province special emergency powers to keep goods moving between the two countries.
Nobody can predict the future, but for now there is no need to worry.
“There’s no suggestion that we are going to run out of food, run out of toilet roll, run out of hand soap,” said Colgate. “Those products will still be on our shelves.”