H-E-B lines wrap around buildings even after mayor explains stores will stay open amid ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ order period

‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ order allows people in grocery stores as long as they use social distancing

The city and county’s “Stay Home, Work Safe” order goes into effect Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., but grocery stores are labeled essential and can be accessed when needed during the order.

SAN ANTONIO – The city and county’s “Stay Home, Work Safe” order goes into effect Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., but grocery stores are labeled essential and can be accessed when needed during the order.

While giving the order Monday, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg asked people not to hoard, saying the food supply chain remains healthy.

Yet within hours of the order, people flooded to the stores.

KSAT drove by several H-E-B locations to find shocking lines and a lack of social distancing.

At the H-E-B near Brook Hollow and U.S. 281, customers stood in close lines separated only by their carts.

The line at the H-E-B in Leon Springs was so long Monday morning that it wrapped around to the back of the building.

Explained: San Antonio, Bexar County issue ‘Stay Home, Work Safe’ orders. Here’s what that means.

Employees geared up for a long day ahead at the location at Military and Zarzamora, where the customers were crowded together, some less than one foot from each other.

A KSAT crew spoke to some of the customers there who all said they were not panic shopping. Many people said they were standing in line to just pick up a few of the basic items they needed.

The line was too long for David Gonzalez, who was trying to pick up chorizo.

“My grandson is 3 years old and likes chorizo and eggs,” he said.

He also had another item on his list.

"Well, toilet paper," he said.

But with the length of the line, Gonzalez instead went to try his luck at another store.

H-E-B has changed store hours to help restock shelves and has even limited items to keep people from hoarding. There’s also a curbside service, but the earliest order isn’t available until early April.

H-E-B spokespeople say there will continue to be products available, and they’re only running out because so many people are buying at once.

The city and county declarations are set to end on April 9.

H-E-B released the following statement Tuesday:

“Our stores are putting forth a tremendous effort to ensure social distancing, keeping customers and H-E-B Partners 6 feet apart while in store. Because of these safety measures monitored at all times by our COVID Action Partners, at times we have to limit the number of customers in store.”

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.


About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

Adrian Ortega is a news producer for the Nightbeat. He joined the station in 2016. Adrian helped expand the Nightbeat to a one-hour newscast on the weekend and is now producing for the Nightbeat 5 times per week. He's helped cover the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 winter storm, race and policing in SA and the Alazan-Apache Courts on the West Side.