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Winnipeg pharmacies, businesses seeing shortages of hand sanitizers and face masks

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Businesses across Winnipeg are experiencing a shortage of products amid concerns about COVID-19, Global's Amber McGuckin reports.

Businesses across Winnipeg are experiencing a shortage of products amid concerns about COVID-19.

Pharmacist Scott Groen with Tache Pharmacy says they have been seeing a shortage of both N95 face masks and hand sanitizer.

“We can’t get hand sanitizer. Two of the manufacturers we use are sold out,” he said.

“N95 masks are hard to come by and sell out almost immediately.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Do Canadians really need to stockpile household items?

A number of pharmacies across Winnipeg echoed the same thoughts.

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I.D.A. – Meyers Drugs says their pharmacy is cleaned out of hand sanitizers and masks — the two main things people are asking for.

A staff member told Global News people appear to be hoarding these items.

Health Canada is recommending people fill their prescriptions now so they don’t have to go to a busy pharmacy if sick.

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Online they also recommend people stock up on essential items but avoid panic buying.

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Meantime, some people are reportedly buying up products to create their own hand sanitizer.

Pharmacist Carey Lai with Leila Pharmacy says people have been scooping up rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel for about a month now.

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“We still have some supply available, but the aloe gel seems to run out and again, it’s becoming more sparse to get that as well,” Lai said.

Lai says they noticed the uptick around the time the World Health Organization published a DIY recipe on its website.

Like many others, Lai says there’s no hand sanitizer on his shelves and face masks are long gone.

He says the last shipment he received – about 100 boxes of 50 masks – was gone in under 24 hours.

Manitoba’s Health Minister Cameron Friesen says stockpiling isn’t necessary.

Some shoppers are still wanting to be prepared, like Al Keith, who has been in search of hand sanitizer.

“We did an inventory in the house and decided that we didn’t have enough hand sanitizer,” he said.

READ MORE: COVID-19: No need to stockpile food despite earlier warning, Manitoba health minister says

“We are thinking buying toilet paper, stocking the house and making sure the pantry is loaded up better than usual is good advice.”

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At the Costco location on Kenaston, toilet paper is already missing from the store floor.

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“I was looking for toilet paper and there was no toilet paper,” shopper Lynelle Fender said.

Some Walmart and Canadian Tire locations also show no hand sanitizer or face masks on the shelves.

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