‘Buy what you’ll use’

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“We have been picked clean,” say employees at Wellwise in Chatham about their hand sanitizer and face mask stock as fears over the COVID-19 virus continue to spread.

C-K stores facing sanitizer, mask shortage

By Jenna Cocullo

Chatham-Kent businesses and pharmacies are seeing a near complete depletion of their hand sanitizer and facemask stock, citing residents, out-of-towners and suppliers as the cause.

Chris Miller, pharmacy technician at Chatham Centre Guardian Pharmacy, said that the pharmacy has not been able to order any from their supplier, McKesson Canada, which is out of stock. As a result, the pharmacy and its walk-in clinic have been scrounging up the purse-size sanitizers from businesses around town, unable at the time find the larger bottles.

“No one has any (hand sanitizer and face masks) around. The clinic we run has some but we can’t sell any. We have only a couple just for us,” Miller said.

Other pharmacists and business owners are asking shoppers to be considerate and buy only what they will use, citing only a handful of people taking up the whole stock.

Kathy Gilbert, employee at Charlie’s Variety, a local convenience store, said one man bought up their whole stock of hand sanitizer recently.

Managers at the Dollarama and Wellwise have seen a depletion on their shelves hours after new stock comes in.

At Canadian Tire, division manager Mike McMullan said one man drove all the way from Windsor to stock up on Lysol and sanitizer to wipe down his doorknobs.

“Stock was apparently so low in Windsor and he was afraid he would not be able to get any,” McMullan said.

With sanitizer hard to find, customers have come in with their own homemade recipes, using up most of the Aloe Vera and alcohol stock, Mandy Bhangav, pharmacy assistant at Shoppers Drug Mart said.

“Wash your hands. Hand sanitizer is not always necessary. It is a method you use when you have no soap and water,” Bhangav said.

Chatham-Kent is considered at low-risk for contracting the COVID-19. Businesses and pharmacists are concerned that if stock is low now, things could only get worse if the virus escalates.

“We can’t find gloves or masks from any suppliers,” Gilbert said. “I fear as (COVID-19) grows, people will probably start panicking even more and we won’t have enough.”

There is currently no treatment or vaccine to protect against COVID-19.

C-K Public Health issued a press release reminding residents on steps they can take to prevent the virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you are unable to access soap and water, use 70-per-cent alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or into your elbow, not into your hand.
  • Now and in any cold and flu season, stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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