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Pass closures leave Spokane grocery shelves empty

Weekend shoppers were searching for basic items like water, eggs and coffee since pass closures prevented grocery stores from being able to restock shelves.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Shopping at some eastern Washington grocery stores this weekend might have left people with an empty feeling. Shoppers found several empty shelves as trucks carrying items like produce, eggs, bread, and coffee were stuck on the other side of the pass due to snow.

Now that Snoqualmie Pass is open for commercial vehicles, store shelves will soon be able to be filled.

Casey Dunham, a Spokane shopper, called the scene of unstocked shelves, "apocalyptic."

Dunham spent two hours traveling to grocery stores on the south hill to find all the items on his shopping list.

"Looking for just basic items," Dunham said. 

Dunham also said some stores he visited were out of water, eggs and ground coffee.

Another shopper, Johanna McRoberts, said Albertson's didn't have chicken when she went.

"I needed some protein to make soup and we did not see any chicken," McRoberts said.

McRoberts said the situation gave her an opportunity to visit grocery stores outside of the usual stores she frequents.

"In a way, it's kind of good because then we get to see things that we would not have otherwise," McRoberts said.

Rosauer's management said they were expecting a specialties and organic products delivery last Wednesday. Due to pass closures, that shipment never arrived.

Gov. Inslee issued a state of emergency for drivers attempting to cross mountain passes. Jan. 8, Inslee amended that order to waive truck driving hours for commercial vehicles with essential product.

As of 6 a.m. Monday, Snoqualmie and Blewett passes were open. The WSDOT said White Pass would “likely reopen Monday afternoon.” However, the WSDOT said it is “unlikely Stevens Pass will reopen before Wednesday” due to dangerous conditions.