By Christina Hager

BOSTON (CBS) – During the coronavirus pandemic, store shelves don’t look like they used to.

“Toy aisles are empty, you know, because people have their kids home,” said Greg Hebard, manager of a Randolph-based import company called OEC Group. “They’re buying everything off the shelves to keep them busy.”

He says that, combined with fewer shipments coming into Boston’s main cargo terminal from China, have created shortages.

“Toys, garments, footwear, electronics,” he said. All these things are short in supply. “We were expecting that May 1, we’d start seeing a jump in the volume, and it’s not happening.”

Adding to the problem, the U.S. shutdown has stores ordering less inventory.

Even at Walmart, which is open, a Framingham ordinance has the toy aisle there off limits to customers.

Back in March, WBZ-TV spoke with other local importers as China announced factories there were opening back up. That fueled hopes that cargo would return to Boston and other U.S. ports.

A couple months later, Hebard says it didn’t happen.

“The workers over there held off coming back,” he said.

“The only thing that we can see that saves us, is if we have a great holiday season. But let’s be honest. I’ve never seen anything this bad,” Hebard said.

Christina Hager

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