Coronavirus fears fuel panic buying at grocery stores, pharmacies

Coronavirus
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SANDUSKY, Ohio (WJW) — Fear over a possible coronavirus pandemic has some people hoarding certain products including medical masks and hand sanitizer.

A recent Neilsen report found that hand sanitizer sales have skyrocketed 73% in just the past few weeks.

To combat the problem, Kroger posted a new policy on their website that states, “Due to high demand and to support all customers, we will be limiting the number of Sanitization, cold and flu-related products to 5 each per order.”

“I understand their point of view,” said Toni Bartlett, a shopper at the Kroger in Sandusky.

Another shopper Dana McLaughlin said, “I think it’s pretty fair so everyone is able to buy the necessities that they need.”

We reached out to a number of stores to check their policies and status including but not limited to Marc’s, Drug Mart, Walmart, CVS and Target.

A spokesperson for Walgreens responded, “We do not have limits on sales quantity at this time. Working closely with our clinical and safety teams, as well as our supplier partners. We are continually monitoring the situation so that we can best meet the needs of our customers.”

A spokesperson for Giant Eagle also sent a statement that read in part,

“We employ a variety of processes and procedures throughout our company to ensure the food we offer our customers every day is safe.  As reports of the spread of COVID-19 continue, we are reinforcing these longstanding practices with our 32,000 Team Members and hundreds of supply partners.”  They also stated that, they are “actively monitoring” all information from the CDC, encouraging customers to use the sanitizing wipes near the entrances, and suggesting people consider home delivery if they are feeling ill.”

“We’re taking extra precautions around the house considering the fact that my fiance is pregnant so we wipe down everything sanitize everything,” said Dana McLaughlin, a shopper in Sandusky.

Some hand sanitizer companies like Akron based GOJO Industries Inc., the maker of Purell, are increasing production.

There is also a warning to be careful when purchasing items online.

FOX 8 found some sellers offering the same 4-bottles of hand sanitizer that go for under $20 at most stores listed online for $250. 

**Complaints of price gouging or any other consumer issues can be reported to the Ohio Attorney General Office’s Consumer Protection Section at 1-800-282-0515 or at ohioattorneygeneral.gov**

The CDC also wants to remind people that hand sanitizers must be 60% alcohol to be effective, and even then hand sanitizers don’t always kill all viruses and bugs.

The CDC still recommends washing your hands frequently and properly washing for at least twenty seconds as the best line of defense against all viruses.

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