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Preparation or paranoia? Coronavirus raising demand for hand sanitizer

Posted at 10:07 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 00:51:32-04

DENVER -- If there is one business that seems to be thriving as a new virus spreads throughout the country and the world, it's the hygiene industry. Hand sanitizer has been flying off the shelf for the last two weeks, leaving less for those who really need it.

Shelby Simpson says her hands are dry from using hand sanitizer and washing her hands so often.

"I’m trying to be in point of washing them thoroughly. I handle money from customers all day long. I am just trying to be precautions," Simpson said.

While the demand is skyrocketing, the supply is plummeting almost as fast as the stock market.

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"What some retailers are doing is, they are actually limiting consumers," said Stew Lawrence of Cleanwell, LLC.

Lawrence is the CEO of the Denver-based company that sells natural cleaning products. He said that last month, even before Colorado's first case of coronavirus was reported, they sold 400% more products than normal.

"We have inventory in general to get us through September, October of this year on a normal year. We could potentially be out of all of that inventory within the next week," Lawrence said.

Like other companies, Cleanwell's disinfectant wipes and hand santizer is seeing the largest bump in sales, he added.

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Jenna Brown is the mother of a 10-month-old boy. She partially relies on hand sanitizer for the health of her child. Simpson believes some are going too far by buying so much.

"Some of these people need to consider others. Stop being so gullible. There are people out there that have a little immune system’s and should be thought about, such as an infant or someone who is fighting cancer," Brown said. "They should have hand sanitizer."

Lawrence said Cleanwell, LLC will continue to stock up on product, preparing for the long haul.

"Our perspective is, let’s produce as much as we can and then will deal with the ramifications of things slowing down," Lawrence said.