STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Pharmacy and supermarket employees are very familiar with saying the phrase, “Sorry, we’re out.”
When the Advance contacted several pharmacies and supermarkets in the borough seeking hand sanitizer and surgical masks — we were met with a similar response.
It’s a scene right out of a zombie apocalypse movie or a sight that’s too familiar before a hurricane or blizzard.
Supermarket and pharmacy employees redirected us to different departments and even competitor’s stores. Calls to the other stores received the same answer.
“We’ve had hand sanitizer, face masks and Lysol on order for over a week now, but we were told that since everyone has them on order, it’s going to be a while ’til we get them in,” said an employee at a pharmacy in Old Town.
Dozens of people said they were turned away on Friday from multiple stores as they hunted for preparations and supplies just as city hospitals stock up ahead of what many fear to be a coronavirus, or COVID-19, outbreak.
Although residents are worried about the potential coronavirus outbreak on the Island and health experts offer advice of preparation, many still are making light of the situation.
“It’s stress; it’s added stress to everything,” said Dongan Hills resident Peter Trembone, 49. “You never know what can happen, whether this thing can get a lot bigger in an hour or a day. Just be as prepared as possible and cross your fingers.
“Having a Corona (beer) would also help,” he joked.
Staten Islanders are prepared for the worst, even though there have been no confirmed cases in New York City yet. The city Department of Health did announce on Twitter Thursday night that it was investigating one person who reported symptoms after traveling to Italy.
Hours later, city Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot announced the investigation of a second person.
Although there are no confirmed cases in the city, there are 108 individuals in voluntary isolation on Long Island, according to news reports.