By LINDA WOODLAND
March madness swept through the Fostoria area Thursday, but it wasn’t on a basketball court.
The March madness taking place was at grocery and department stores in Fostoria, Findlay and Tiffin.
Shortly after Gov. Mike DeWines’ news conference Thursday ordering a three-week spring break for schools in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus, people made a run on the stores.
Produce, bread, milk, canned goods, water and meat quickly disappeared from the shelves at Fostoria Kroger as customers filled their carts, stockpiling goods for whatever might come next during the outbreak.
And toilet paper.
Toilet paper was one of the first products to disappear from store shelves throughout the area.
“I don’t understand why every body is buying toilet paper,” one customer was overheard saying to another. “This thing (virus) is not that kind of illness.”
Another customer was trying to explain that if they or a family member contract the virus and are quarantined to their home, they want to be sure they have their creature comforts.
Another customer was talking about martial law.
“That’s what’s next,” the man was telling another. “Wait until everything starts getting rationed. You’ll be glad you got all this stuff.”
On the lighter side, many took to Facebook and jokingly posted they were ready to be quarantined because they had beer movies and lots of newspapers for when they run out of toilet paper.
But most often overhead in the stores was, “This is crazy,” but being said in various expressions of frustration.
And that frustration is likely to grow as stores haveto wait on deliveries to be made before restocking the barren shelves.
“Please! We’re all in this together,” Seneca County Health District Commissioner Beth Schweitzer said in the aftermath of Thursday’s shopping spree.
“This is going to be stressful for people. If we practice those things that Dr. Acton and the governor talked about yesterday on their press conference — eliminating these large gatherings and when you do gather, keeping that distance — I can’t reiterate enough that good hand washing, having sanitizer available if you can’t wash your hands, covering the cough, if you do become ill at all, stay home.”
The commissioner also encouraged the public to consider the other people in the community and to not be so anxious and fearful.
“I guess my motto from the beginning has been don’t be afraid, be aware, be informed and be wise,” Schweitzer said.
“We’re all in it together, we need to all work together so we can all get through this. It’s not going to be easy for everyone, easier for some than for others. But we all need to do what we can to help each other.”