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SWFL businesses take precautions amid coronavirus

While businesses are putting out hand sanitizers to prevent germs, some are taking advantage. We are being told some people are stealing the hot-ticket items. While other businesses are working hard to keep their shelves stocked and their customers healthy.

We spoke to businesses in Southwest Florida Friday, as they work to deal with possible effects due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The owner of Livewell Pharmacy stocked up on things like hand sanitizer early on when the coronavirus outbreak made the top of the headlines worldwide. So, while many stores are completely out, this remains one of the few local businesses with product in stock.

But businesses around Southwest Florida are pushing new safety measures and plans to make sure people stay healthy.

  • Starbucks no longer allowing re-usable cups
  • Gyms asking cleaning staffs to work extra shifts
  • Even one local restaurant keeping hand sanitizer on every table

“Ninety percent of our customers really appreciate that it’s there,” said co-owner Bonnie Grunberg of Oasis in downtown Fort Myers.

Grunberg says putting these bottles on every table started when the bird flu spread almost a decade ago.

“I think things like this should be everywhere,” Grunberg said.

And with coronavirus on many minds, it’s something customers appreciate.

“Well, considering what is happening, I’m selective as to where I go,” Dorothy Finn said.

“It makes you feel a little more confident about going in there,” Peggy Wilcox said.

Stores and pharmacy owners are still struggling to get more inventory from distributors.

“They have no set dates for us right now when they will have it,” said Anil Harkhani, a local pharmacy owner.

But, while they wait, Harkhani says he’s thankful for the uptick in customers taking advantage of their delivery service, whether it’s people who are already sick or others trying to stay healthy.

We also reached out to local cleaning companies to see if they’ve been noticing more calls for service. While some said they are, others said they’re now starting to run low on the cleaning supplies they typically use to disinfect customers’ homes and businesses.

“Any patient who is sick, as little as cold and sneeze, it might just be a common cold, we are encouraging our patients to stay home,” Harkhani  said.

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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