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Supermarkets in Prince George preaching patience in face of road closures

Grocers are looking for alternative ways to serve customers in areas of the province impacted by flooding
Shutterstock/eldar nurkovic

Grocery store chains are urging calm as they work to find alternate ways to get their products to Prince George following the road closures to the south.

"At this time, all shipments in and out of the Lower Mainland are on hold based on the current road conditions. We are exploring all avenues to get product to our stores as quickly as possible," a Save-On-Foods spokesperson said.

"We're asking our customers to maintain normal shopping habits. This will help our team members keep the shelves full for everyone. We understand that these are uncertain times and many people just want to do what's right for their families."

Similarly, a spokesperson for Loblaw, which owns Real Canadian Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart, said the company was working to set up deliveries to the B.C. Interior from its Alberta distribution centres "to ensure we can continue to serve the communities we operate in."

Reports of panic buying in Prince George have been posted on social media.

Brought on by torrential rain last week, a combination of flooding, rock slides and mud slides have closed Highway 1 through much of the Fraser Valley and as far north as Spences Bridge, according to DriveBC. As well, Highway 7 along the north bank of the Fraser River and Highway 99 north of Vancouver are both closed due to mud slide.

In a teleconference with provincial media, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Flieming said officials are assessing the damage and maintenance contractors have gathered all the equipment they can.

"They are ready to clear roads, they are waiting for the signal as to when it is safe to do so and, on many of our highways, we recognize right now how important it is for many in British Columbia to reopen the connections from the Lower Mainland to the Interior to get supply chains moving again."

Fleming also indicated priority would be given to commercial vehicles as the routes are reopened.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, meanwhile, encouraged level heads. "Transportation and Highways, as you've heard, is working on how to get goods flowing from Vancouver up so there are challenges but there are also options and so we will encourage people to recognize this and to remember patience and there still is lots of supply."

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