Grocery stores aren't the only retailers seeing a surge in sales amid the COVID-19 outbreak: gun and ammunition sales are up this week too in Fort St. John and across the country.
"There's no doubt that there's been a stretch of busy days with lots of customers coming through. Right now, the big push is for ammunition," said Backcountry store owner Steve Hewitt.
Hewitt said there are many possible reasons for a spike in firearm and ammunition sales.
"Some people are coming in because they've heard rumours that there will be ammunition shortages but that isn't the case. Other reasons people are coming in are they want to be stocked in case we have to close, they want to spend the down time target shooting, or they're worried that prices may go up," said Hewitt.
"There's a lot more at play here than just people wanting to load up on ammo so they're armed."
Canadian firearms dealers have been noticing the trend as well.
"We are seeing a surge in sales," said Ross Faulkner, owner of The Gun Dealer in McAdam, N.B., which bills itself Atlantic Canada's largest firearms store. "When things get tough, it's certainly a feeling of security, especially when you're dealing with uncertain times like we're dealing with now."
Faulkner said people are reaching for new shotguns and buying "staple" ammunitions. Strong firearms sales, he said, are not just due to coronavirus fears but also to concerns over the federal government's crackdown on guns.
Hewitt said this isn't the time he's seen a surge in firearm and ammunition sales during times of uncertainty, adding that there was a similar reaction in 2012 in regards to the concerns of the Mayan Calendar ending.
"This happens when people are worried about where things are headed, but honestly we haven't seen anything quite like this," Hewitt said.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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