Brian Greenberg, co-CEO of Touchfree Concepts, which, according to its website, sells touch-free restroom products and janitorial supplies, made the comments on Sunday as the number of U.S. coronavirus cases swelled to 400, with cases in about half of the states. The total U.S. death toll has reached 19.
Coronavirus fears prompted shoppers across the country to stock up on disinfectants and nonperishable foods.
“We are absolutely being bombarded by phone calls, emails and people trying to place orders,” Greenberg said on Sunday. “We actually ran out of Purell about two-and-a-half weeks ago and we are completely out of every other type of hand sanitizer.”
“GOJO, the maker of Purell, has informed us that they will have more stock at the end of March and early April,” he continued.
Last week, Kroger, one of America's largest supermarket chains, capped the amount of sanitizing and cold and flu products customers can order on its website, due to the high volume of demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Gary Millerchip, Kroger's senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the media's coverage of the virus has made customers hypervigilant and driven up the demand for such items, according to the New York Post.
Greenberg said on Sunday that he recommends people get on the waiting list for hand sanitizer if it’s sold out.
“If you go online, you probably won’t be able to buy the products, it’s just the nature of shopping carts online,” Greenberg noted.
“But what you should do is actually e-mail the companies and let them know that you want to place an order and that if they’re not in stock, that you want to be placed on back order,” he advised. “This will ensure that you get the first batch that comes in. So as soon as it comes in, you don’t have to go to Walmart and try to catch it as soon as they stock it on the shelves.”
Fox News published a recipe last week for making homemade hand sanitizer, which uses 99 percent rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) or ethanol, aloe vera gel, and essential oil.
Greenberg noted that there is also a shortage of face masks.
“We sold out of all the masks in mid-January and specifically the N95 [surgical and face] masks, we could not get,” he said on Sunday. “We contacted 3M, who are the manufacturers of the masks, and they are telling us that they will not be restocking it.”
“I believe they’re under contract with the government right now and they’re filling a massive order, not only 3M, but all the other manufacturers of the mask and they’re going to make sure that they divvy it out to the people that need it the most,” Greenberg added.
Fox News’ Nick Givas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.