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Coronavirus fears cause rush on masks, sanitizer
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After a run on hand sanitizer at Riverside Pharmacy all that's left on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, is an emergency sanitation and protection kit. - photo by Scott Rogers

Face masks and hand sanitizer are top sellers these days at Riverside Pharmacy in Gainesville, as the coronavirus health threat continues to grow in the U.S.

“If I had 5,000 masks right now, I could probably sell every one of them,” Riverside owner Scottie Barton said. “There’s a little bit of a panic going on.”

He said he hasn’t seen a rush on items to this extent since Y2K, or in late 1999, when there were concerns computers worldwide wouldn’t recognize the calendar turning to 2000 and cause extensive havoc.

“That was the last thing that really hit us big,” Barton said.

At the same time, with two cases confirmed in Georgia, concerns aren’t unfounded.

“It’s ramping up a little bit,” Barton said.

Otherwise, pharmacy staff are getting general questions about the health crisis.

“The main thing we’re telling everybody is look at the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website,” he said.

“From what I’m reading, I don’t think the masks are really that beneficial, which I think that will help out in a way with the demand,” Barton said. “That might slow (demand) a little bit.”

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Riverside Pharmacy Technician Elisha Kinsey organizes shelves Tuesday, March 3, 2020, next to where the pharmacy has sold out of hand sanitizer. - photo by Scott Rogers
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