Officials urge against 'stockpiling' as SoCal stores see shortage of supplies amid coronavirus fears

Officials are urging for smart shopping as customers flock to local stores to stock up on supplies in case of a shortage due to the coronvavirus.

Long lines are not hard to spot outside stores like Costco and other spots as shoppers rush to buy hand sanitizer, toilet paper and water. Many only go to find empty shelves at a number of stores.

At the Costo in Woodland Hills, a long line extended around the building Friday morning, and many got there only to find empty shelves. Carter McLain was trying to buy water.

"It's all gone everywhere. I've already checked with Target, Ralphs, they don't have any, here they don't have any," he said.

Coronavirus: Photos show empty SoCal store shelves amid COVID-19 pandemic

The City of Pasadena issued a statement telling folks to purchase enough supplies for a potential 14-day quarantine, adding that "being prepared does not mean stockpiling or hoarding."

"Please think of your neighbor and only purchase items you truly need," the city said in a tweet.

"I'm just doing it just to think ahead. I don't want to expose my family and go to stores. I think right now is a perfect time to start shopping because the virus is still not here," said Isabel Baleon.

With a number of items running out at local stores across the , officials are looking into potential cases of price-gouging.

"To just throw your money away when someone is really just trying to take advantage of your fear is not the right way to go," said Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

Investigators with the city attorney's office found an online listing for bleach that was being sold for $100. The city and the county have set up a task force to go after people that are raising prices illegally.

"The mere posting of a price on a website, for example, of an exaggerated amount fuels panic," said L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer.

How to stock up for coronavirus: What you need, and why you shouldn't panic-buy
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As the new coronavirus outbreak continues to uproot American lives, many are racing to the stores to stockpile on food, medicine and, of course, toilet paper.

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