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H-E-B adds meat to list of purchase limits due to COVID-19 impact on meatpacking plants

Ground beef limited to 1 package at San Antonio stores

Texas grocery store chain H-E-B has promised customers they will replenish their shelves after customers cleared them amid fear of the coronavirus outbreak.
Texas grocery store chain H-E-B has promised customers they will replenish their shelves after customers cleared them amid fear of the coronavirus outbreak. (KPRC 2)

SAN ANTONIOUpdate (April 30, 2020):

H-E-B has added some food items back to the list of limited products for purchase during the coronavirus pandemic.

Store officials added meat items to the list on Wednesday, just days after the grocery lifted limits of all food items as well as toilet paper and paper towels.

The following limits apply to H-E-B stores in the San Antonio area, Central Texas, Gulf Coast, Border region and certain towns in West and North Texas:

  • Ground beef – 1 package
  • Beef, chicken, pork, turkey – 2 packages, combined total (not two of each)

The limits above do not apply to stores in the Houston area, Abilene, Big Spring, Burleson, Cleburne, Granbury, Hudson Oaks, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo or Waxahachie.

Instead, stores in those areas have the following limits:

  • Ground beef – 4 packages
  • Chicken – 4 packages
  • Brisket – 2 packages

H-E-B added the limits due to COVID-19′s effect on meat processing plant, according to a spokesperson. The grocery chain has released the following statement:

H-E-B sources most meat products locally from Texas and works with many suppliers across the nation, most which have not been widely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, however the situation changes daily. H-E-B has a strong supply of meat product for our stores. Product limits are in place to protect the supply chain and ensure all customers have access to the products they need and leave some for their neighbors.

Meatpacking plants across the country have closed as COVID-19 infections spread rapidly between workers, who often stand shoulder to shoulder on production lines, according to the Associated Press. President Donald Trump’s executive order requires them to stay open.

Meatpackers welcome Trump order; others question virus risks

Update (April 28, 2020):

H-E-B is no longer putting product limits on food items, toilet paper or paper towels.

Store officials updated the list of limited products on Friday.

There are still purchase limits on the following non-food items:

  • Acetaminophen – 2 items total (includes baby, trial and travel sizes, OTC)
  • Baby wipes – 2 items
  • Disinfecting & antibacterial sprays – 2 items
  • Disinfecting & antibacterial wipes – 2 items
  • Trial and travel size disinfecting & antibacterial sprays/wipes – 2 items
  • Liquid bleach – 2 items
  • Hand sanitizer – 4 items
  • Hand soap – 4 items
  • Aloe Vera – 2 items (Digestive Health, Skincare/Suncare, Healthy Living)
  • Hydrogen peroxide – 2 items
  • Rubbing (Isopropyl) Alcohol/swabs – 2 items
  • First Aid and Cleaning Gloves – 2 items
  • Masks – 2 items

H-E-B is still not accepting returns on some items due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are the items that are non-returnable right now:

  • Paper Towels
  • Bath Tissue
  • Thermometers
  • Analgesics
  • Disinfecting Sprays
  • Disinfecting Wipes
  • Frozen Food
  • Liquid/Bar Soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Cold/Allergy/Sinus Medications
  • Vitamins/Supplements
  • Laundry detergent

Previous Story:

Photos have been shared across social media of stores running low on certain items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies and stores have been scrambling to keep up with the demand.

Concerns over COVID-19 have caused an uptick in purchases and KSAT reached out to H-E-B to see how they’re handling the onslaught of customers who are trying to find certain items.

“We are limiting product purchases to protect the supply chain and make sure our customers can find the items they need,” an H-E-B spokesperson told KSAT.

Video shows inside of fully stocked H-E-B warehouse

On April 13 H-E-B updated the list of restrictions on certain items and removed product limits on many food items.

The below-listed product limits don’t apply to Central Market stores. Click here for the Central Market store product limits.

How you can responsibly prepare for an emergency (without hoarding supplies)

Customers will currently be limited on purchases of the following items:

Food items

  • Eggs (smaller than 30 count) – 2 items
  • Eggs (30 count and larger) – 1 item
  • Pasta Sauce: 4 items
  • Rice – 4 items
  • Dried Beans – 4 items
  • Powdered Milk – 2 items

Non-food items

  • Acetaminophen – 2 items total (includes baby, trial and travel sizes, OTC)
  • Baby wipes – 2 items
  • Sanitary tampons, pads and liners – 2 items
  • Incontinence – 2 items
  • Puppy Pads – 1 item
  • Bath tissue multipack (SA, Gulf, Border, Central TX, W TX, N TX) – 1 item
  • Bath tissue single roll (SA, Gulf, Border, Central TX, W TX, N TX) – 2 items
  • Bath tissue (Houston area) – 2 items
  • Paper towels: 2 items
  • Disinfecting & antibacterial sprays – 2 items
  • Disinfecting & antibacterial wipes – 2 items
  • Trial and travel size disinfecting & antibacterial sprays/wipes – 2 items
  • Liquid bleach – 2 items
  • Hand sanitizer – 2 items
  • Hand soap – 2 items
  • Aloe Vera – 2 items (Digestive Health, Skincare/Suncare, Healthy Living)
  • Hydrogen peroxide – 2 items
  • Rubbing (Isopropyl) Alcohol/swabs – 2 items
  • First Aid and Cleaning Gloves – 2 items
  • Masks – 2 items

These items will not be accepted for returns:

  • Paper Towels
  • Bath Tissue
  • Thermometers
  • Analgesics
  • Disinfecting Sprays
  • Disinfecting Wipes
  • Frozen Food
  • Liquid/Bar Soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Cold/Allergy/Sinus Medications
  • Vitamins/Supplements
  • Laundry detergent

H-E-B replenishes supplies daily and “partners work around the clock to bring products to the shelf,” a spokesperson said. “If you cannot find what you need, please check back with us."

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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