CATHEDRAL CITY — Shelves at Target in this community, Coachella Valley’s second largest, were picked clean of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, tissues, chicken soup, and more about noon Thursday, March 12 as the coronavirus was characterized as a pandemic.

Although the weekly Target ad promoted Mega Rolls of Charmin for $9.99 and disinfecting wipes for $9.19, none were to be found as people prepare to work from home, be quarantined, and more.

A Reality Check at Target Amidst COVID-19The hand soap and sanitizer aisle bore a sign that read, “… we will be limiting the quantities of disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers and hand & face wipes to 6 per guest.”

Forget about buying six. There wasn’t a single container of hand sanitizer.

Sales of Clorox were brisk.

Checkout lines rivaled those of the holiday season as federal officials predict the disease will get better before it gets worse. One unidentified male Target employee was overheard saying, “We need more help.”

As of Thursday afternoon, Riverside County has eight confirmed cases – six in Coachella Valley and two cruise ship passengers who have not returned to the region since being diagnosed. Dr. Cameron Kaiser urges seniors and those with underlying health issues in the Coachella Valley to limit non-essential travel. One of the Coachella Valley cases is considered “community spread,” meaning health investigators have not determined the source of the infection.

A Reality Check at Target Amidst COVID-19

Hand Sanitizer shelves

On Tuesday, Brian Cornell, Target CEO, issued a memo to reassure the public.

” … I want you to know that your health and safety is our first priority, too.

We’ve always taken great pride in our clean and well-run stores, and we know this is more important than ever right now. On top of our daily cleaning procedures, we’re adding hours to each store’s payroll to make our routines even more rigorous. This means more time will be spent cleaning our stores, including cleaning surfaces like check lanes and touchscreens at least every 30 minutes. Like many others, we’re taking guidance from the CDC, which recommends regular cleaning as one of the most important preventive measures we can take. And, out of an abundance of caution, we’ve temporarily stopped food sampling in our stores.

“We’re also staffing up our teams to support in-demand services like Order Pickup and Drive Up.

“And of course, we’re committed to taking care of our team. For weeks, we’ve provided them with up-to-the-moment guidance and information so they can keep themselves and their families safe. We’re encouraging sick team members to stay home and asking our teams to travel only if it’s business critical. And, to help support our team in real-time, we’ve set up a forum where we’re sharing information and taking questions 24/7.

“Speaking of our team, they are working around the clock to make sure that the products you want are available when you need them. As demand for cleaning products, medicine, pantry stock-up items and more remains high, we’re sending more products to our stores as quickly as possible. And this weekend, we started to limit the number of key items per purchase, which will allow more guests to get what they need.

“At the center of our company’s purpose is a commitment to help all families, and it’s something we take to heart in good times and bad. This is why we’ll be working hard to keep our stores open so we can be there to support you and your families.”


Image Sources

  • Notice to Shoppers: Cindy Uken
  • Hand Sanitizer shelves: Cindy Uken
  • Target shelves: Cindy Uken