Local retailers experience supply shortages related to coronavirus concerns

Cold and flu products like hand sanitizer and masks are in high demand.
Cold and flu products like hand sanitizer and masks are in high demand.(WSAZ)
Published: Mar. 3, 2020 at 5:53 PM EST
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Stores across the country are working to keep up with the demand for cold and flu products. Walmart has issued a statement saying they are working to keep up with supply and demand, while Kroger has limited cold and flu products to five per customer.

For local stores, it has been more difficult to get certain products on their shelves. Masks have been in such high demand that many retailers are unable to get them.

Jeremy Biggs works at Valley Wellness Pharmacy in Kanawha City. He says he has not seen the masks in any stores and the pharmacy has also had problems getting the masks.

"All of our vendors are out of stock. They have may different brands and quantities, and everything is completely out of stock," Biggs said.

Distributors tell Biggs they are unable to provide the masks because they are waiting on manufacturers to send them. He says most people coming into buy supplies the prepare for the coronavirus are on a mission for masks.

On Tuesday, Melissa Nichols was in downtown Charleston on a business trip. With fears of catching the coronavirus at an all-time high, she says she has seen many people with masks on her flights.

"A bunch of children that were flying, and almost everyone had a mask," Nichols said.

Biggs says the store has never had an issue getting the masks. Other products on their shelves are fully stocked for customers if they need flu and cold medications. He says if they are able to get masks in, Valley Wellness Pharmacy would make sure any customers that need the masks could get them.

"You know, make sure as many people are able to get them as possible. You know, maybe five per person per customer. At least that would take care of them," Biggs said.

For Melissa Nichols, traveling home to Columbus, Mississippi soon, she says it is important to bring products like wipes and hand sanitizer.

"So, I don't usually use the masks. So being aware of surroundings, I think, is very important,' Nichols said.