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Mayor Garcetti To LA: Please Stop Hoarding, Food Supply Chain Is OK

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Grocery supply chains are good, so please stop hoarding. That was the message from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and a cadre of grocery store representatives from across the industry.

To hoard food "has a consequence" for vulnerable people. "Supply chains are completely uninterrupted, and there's no shortage of food," Garcetti said today. "There's no reason to make a run on the supermarkets."

Garcetti said there is plenty of food, and toilet paper and paper towels will be replenished quickly: "Hoarding is hurting our most vulnerable Angelenos."

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Hand sanitizer will take longer to resupply -- if you are sitting on a big supply, Garcetti said, please share with your neighbors.

Garcetti also encouraged younger residents to be kind and help older people get out of the store quickly.

"Please be generous with our seniors. If you see them, put them to the front of the line," he said.

His parting note: "Stay calm, continue and remember Los Angeles -- we'll get through this. And there's plenty of food."

Garcetti spoke from a remote press conference livestreamed from a Ralphs distribution center in Paramount. Here's more from the representatives across Southern California's grocery retail industry.

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Bryan Kaltenbach, president of Food 4 Less:

Kaltnebach thanked Angelenos who shop at Food 4 Less and Ralphs, sayind "you're incredibly patient, you're very, very compassionate to our associates trying to serve you, and a big thank you for what you're doing to help us get through this."

He also thanked the company's associates for "all their hard work and dedication to the communities we serve."

Some of the things he said they're doing:

"In the middle of the night, they are stocking a lot of groceries. They're trying to replenish the stores, get inventory levels up on the critical items you're looking for. And we're also doing a lot of cleaning. It's obviously critical that our stores are really clean and that you have a safe place to shop. During the day, we maintain really high standards by ensuring that we constantly clean high-use areas, such as pin pads, checkstand belts, counters, restrooms, and ensure that we have sanitizing wipes for all the shopping carts that you use every day in our stores."

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The cleaning and sanitizing efforts were echoed by the other grocery store representatives, as well.

Oscar Gonzalez, co-president and COO of Northgate Gonzalez Market:

"There is no food shortage. The issue most of us retailers have been dealing with is this overbuying. Our distribution centers, our suppliers have been impacted. So the faster we can get to normalcy in tertms of buying behaviors, then we will be very good."

He said their stores are committed to staying open and serving the community.

Melissa Hill, director of community affairs and government affairs at Albertsons:

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"We are so very proud of all of our frontline associates both in the store and behind the scenes, with our warehouse workers, our truck drivers, our manufacturing plants that are here in the area, helping to serve our stores and ultimately serve our customers. We are doing everything we can to keep the stores open and in stock, so we really appreciate the customers' patience while they allow us to get this done."

Rob McDougall, president and CEO of Gelson's Markets:

"I just want to reassure our customers that althou we are a little bit behind on stocking some shelves, it's not a supply problem, it's really a people problem, in getting that product to the shelves."

He took the opportunity to publicly thank all Gelson's employees, who are working overtime to help fulfill customer needs. He asked people to acknowledge that when they visit the stores.

"Give us a little big of grace as we work through this issue in this time. It's unprecedented."

He said he looked forward to "smooth sailing soon."

Kendra Doyel, vice president of merchandising for Ralphs:

"We really are putting people first at Ralphs and Food 4 Less" to take care of associates who have been diagnosed and ensure them that if they have a mandatory quarantine or are exhibiting symptoms, they should stay home and will get paid leave.

She said both Ralphs and Food 4 Less are hiring to keep up for demand. She pointed anyone interested to the following websites:

And finally, she said, to associates in warehouses, stores, and offices: "You inspire me every single minute of every single day, in how you're taking care of our communities, you're taking care of each other, and the grace that our customers are exhibiting as we all come together as Californians."

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