(NBC News) – Mike Felstein, owner of Oregon, Ohio’s Woodville Surplus, noticed more people than usual stocking up on MREs, or Meals Ready To Eat, around Christmas.
After asking his customers why they were buying more military-grade prepackaged meals than before, it hit him: the new coronavirus.
“I couldn’t figure out what it was from until I came down and started asking some of my customers and sure enough they’re saying it’s because of the virus,” Felstein says.
Many people pack the store to stock up on gear when war breaks out overseas, but this is the first time their shelves have been completely cleared because of a virus.
“I would imagine it’s because they think that they’re going to be held up in their homes for a length of time, which is what’s been happening in China and Korea and Japan,” Felstein says.
His customers haven’t just been stocking up ready-to-go meals. People have also been buying gas masks.
“I tried to get some more gas masks today from one of my vendors and they are totally out of gas masks, so if it hasn’t struck us yet, it’ll probably strike us pretty soon, the demand for the gas masks,” he says.
But Felstein doesn’t think people should be as anxious as they are and health officials agree.
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