‘REALLY START THINKING’: Gregg County officials urge public to continue social distancing in stores


LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – Ollie’s Bargain Store is changing the way customers shop to make sure they stay a safe distance apart, less than 24 hours after KETK revealed concerns about people ignoring safety guidelines.

Concerned residents who passed the packed parking lot on Monday, questioned why the store had a grand opening, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow.

“They are able to open, they are able to run as a business, they are offering those essential services,” said Shawn Hara, with the city of Longview.

Hara says businesses like Ollie’s are essential to the community, providing items like food and cleaning supplies. However, as people head into stores, safety should still be a priority.

“Even when your going to these stores that are essential, you as the individual need to keep in mind maintaining social distancing,” said Hara.

City officials urge shoppers to be aware of crowded stores, and if there are too many people inside, to wait and come back at a time when fewer people are shopping.

Despite the crowded lot, officials have seen a major difference in the number of people going out after the county announced a shelter-in-home order.

“I do think there are still some people that aren’t making the wisest choices and that’s what we need people to do, is really start thinking and make those wise decisions,” explained Hara.

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet released this statement to KETK News:

“Ollie’s first priority is the health and safety of our team members and customers, including Longview Texas, and all the communities we serve Ollie’s Bargain Outlet stores will remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that shoppers can buy essential items they need, including a wide assortment of name brand non-perishable food, over the counter medications, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, hardware and automotive products, and other basic necessities at drastically reduced prices.

At this time, we are continuing to provide this service to our communities and open planned new stores. We believe our stores provide these necessities to our customers and jobs for our associates. We are adhering to all published CDC/safety guidelines as we navigate this unprecedented time.

We have reserved the first hour of each day for Seniors and those with compromised immune systems (9-10 M-Saturday, 10-11 Sunday) and ask the general public to shop after that first hour each day.”

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet

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