Sanitizer, mask sales increase at area stores

It's better to be safe than sorry.


That's the philosophy of many Augusta area residents since the recent swine flu outbreak. Hand sanitizer and surgical masks have been flying off the shelves at local stores.

Barney's Pharmacy on Peach Orchard Road started receiving calls Monday. The store has increased its stock of the health care supplies.

One customer was waiting outside the door Friday morning before opening, said manager Wendy Scott.

"We've been selling a lot, but we have plenty," Ms. Scott said. "I see that there are a lot of people who are concerned. People want to make sure they're covered."

Target on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway is also selling hand sanitizer in record numbers, but there hasn't been a huge demand for masks.

Other Target stores have also seen an increase in hand sanitizer sales, said Miko Hassan, the human resource manager.

"I've seen people walk out with a couple of big bottles," Mr. Hassan said.

The store isn't running low on supply, however.

"Our electronic replenishment system works really fast. Whatever we sell today will come to us in the truck the next day," he said.

Target is also taking extra precautions with its cashiers. All work stations have a large container of hand sanitizer.

Lowe's on Washington Road has seen a 20 percent increase in mask sales, said Tracy McLaughlin, the operations manager.

"I have not run out, but it's starting to be a slight increase now that it's coming closer to home," Mr. McLaughlin said.

Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227 or


Harvard School of Public Health polled Americans about the H1N1 virus.

- 59 percent are washing hands more frequently

- 25 percent are avoiding places where large numbers of people are

- 17 percent are avoiding Mexican restaurants or grocery stores

Source: Harvard Opinion Research Program, Harvard School of Public Health