Tampa area stores running low on hand sanitizer as fears of coronavirus grow

Major retailers throughout the Tampa area are working to stock up on supplies like hand sanitizer with shoppers clearing out store shelves after the United States reported its first coronavirus death Saturday in Washington State.

Some shoppers who spoke to FOX 13 went to three or four different stores, but most of them were completely out of hand sanitizer and were running low on products like antibacterial soap and cleaning wipes. 

Some major retailers are warning customers there could a temporary shortage of these types of products so long as the coronavirus keeps spreading. "Everyone is kind of starting to stock up," shopper Chris McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin spent Saturday crisscrossing the Tampa area looking for products like hand sanitizer to help keep him and his family from getting sick.
"It's like a feeling of anxiety and uneasiness,” McLaughlin explained. You don't know what's going to happen and you don't feel like the authorities or anyone is really telling you what's going on.”

At a Target in Clearwater, store shelves were completely empty of hand sanitizer with soap and other products running low. It was a similar story at a CVS in Tampa where hand sanitizer bottles were completely sold out.

"We are working with our suppliers to meet customer demand for hand sanitizers and masks," a CVS spokesperson said in a statement emailed to FOX 13 Saturday. "This demand may cause temporary shortages for these products at some store locations and we re-supply those stores as quickly as possible."

Shopper Jessica Gow and her family are staying calm amid news of the outbreak and relying on the supplies they already have stocked at home. "It's a little scary as anyone would free with any type of outbreak," Gow said.

According to the CDC, to best stay safe follow the typical preventive measures to keep from getting sick like washing your hand frequently. Also, if you have a fever, trouble breathing or any flu symptoms be sure to see a doctor when you first notice any symptoms developing.