NEWLAND — Due to the public’s response to COVID 19, local businesses are experiencing a shortage on various products that help prevent the spreading of germs and diseases.

Stores in Newland, including Family Dollar, CVS Pharmacy, Dollar General and Ingles, are experiencing shortages of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, protectives masks, rubbing alcohol and other health and sanitation products.

Jeff Transeau, store manager at CVS Pharmacy in Newland, says that the store has had a hard time keeping these items on the shelves.

“People are starting to panic buy a little. They’re buying durable goods like toilet paper and paper towels, things that Walmart is running out of,” Transeau said. “Today, they’re running through our Clorox wipes and Clorox spray. We’ll be out of that by the end of the day, plus face masks. We’ve been out of that for over a month now.”

Transeau says that he has seen people come into the store to buy whatever type of masks that are available, even if they are not the surgical masks that physicians wear to protect themselves from sick patients.

“The ones that we’re out of are medical grade ones. A lot of times [people] are taking carpenter’s masks or painter’s masks, which don’t filter down fine enough to get out viruses. We have some of the painter masks. [Painter’s masks] will protect you from particulates if someone sneezes on you, but it won’t protect you from viruses,” Transeau said.

Other businesses, especially in urban areas, have seen its supplies dwindle due the response to the virus. Transeau says that rural grocers and stores like the local CVS had yet to see the trickle-down effect that has already become commonplace in larger population centers.

“We’ve been told that, as far as household goods, they’re starting to see cases of water and things like that starting to be bought out,” he said.

Transeau said that he is unsure when supplies will come in to restock the shelves on these high-demand items. He says that certain items like the surgical masks, which are made in China, have been held up in the country for weeks. In the meantime, he says that his employer is doing what it can to stop the spread of the virus.

“We get daily updates. What we’re doing is in line with what a lot of other companies are doing. We’re not able to work remotely, obviously, but all of our field personnel are being told not to go to meetings. Any meeting with 10 or more and gatherings have been canceled, all unnecessary travel has been canceled, all of that stuff,” Transeau said.

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