Amid concerns around COVID-19, toilet paper has become a hot commodity in Salmon Arm, with some store shelves being largely depleted over the March 7-8 weekend. (Lachlan Labere - Salmon Arm Observer)

Toilet paper flying off shelves at Salmon Arm stores amid COVID-19 concerns

Shoppers buying up hand sanitizer and other disinfectants, zinc lozenges

Salmon Arm retailers are rolling with the increased demand for toilet paper amid concerns around the spread of COVID-19.

Over the March 7-9 weekend, stores throughout the community saw run on bathroom tissue, with shelves being near depleted.

“We got some in today, and our supplier warehouse is working hard to get more in…,” said Brad Housden of Brad’s No Frills on Monday, March 9. “We should be alright. I think people are just panicking for nothing to be honest. But right now, we have stock.”

Housden said he was expecting more toilet paper to arrive on March 11.

It was a different story, however, with another much-sought after product: hand sanitizer.

“That one will be out for a while, and disinfectants, we will be out for a while,” said Housden. “Until our warehouse gives us an update, we’re just out of stock.”

Rolls of TP can still be purchased at Uptown Askew’s, though heightened demand throughout the province did have an impact on resupply Monday with part of an anticipated order being shorted.

“Obviously, people are trying to stockpile and it’s affecting our supply,” said Turner. “People are creating the issue by overbuying, by buying more than they actually need.”

Read more: Amid COVID-19 panic, B.C. psychologist urges shoppers to not clear out grocery stores

Read more: B.C. senior in critical condition after contracting COVID-19

Read more: Toilet paper roll selling for $100 on Craigslist as people capitalize on COVID-19 fears

Turner said the uptown store is also having trouble acquiring hand sanitizer, and their supplier has limited the number of saniwipes they can get at one time.

“What people need to understand is that washing your hands properly with soap and warm water will do just as good, if not better a job at cleaning your hands properly than sanitizer,” said Turner, adding proper hand drying is equally important.

Toilet paper was also flying off the shelves at Salmon Arm’s Shoppers Drug Mart, in addition to sanitizer, Lysol wipes, bleach and zinc lozenges.

“And masks – you cannot get masks – not that they do anything for you because they don’t,” said front store manager Sandi Holmgren. “Like they’re saying, all the masks do is if you’re sick, it keeps other people from getting it. But it’s not going to help you.”

Regarding toilet paper, Holmgren said they still have product available, with more expected to arrive Wednesday.

Holmgren’s advice to the panic-buying populace: just breathe – and wash your hands.

“Wash your hands – don’t be hugging and touching people unless you know them really well, and just wash your hands,” said Holmgren. “It’s a virus, like any other virus, the only problem is we don’t have a vaccine for it. So if you do have a compromised immune system, it can be very dangerous. But just treat it as a virus and do what you would normally do.”

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