Masks selling like hot bread: Jamaicans stock up on ‘coronavirus’ supplies

“A hundred dollar is nothing to save yuh life people,” a vendor selling masks at the Transport Centre in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, shouted as people passed him.

This vendor was busy selling masks in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, on Wednesday.

While some persons just walked by him, others stopped to get their hands on one of the most sought after products on the market right now.

“Coronavirus deh ya, mummy. Protect yuhself. A $100 is nothing to save your life,” he shouted at one of his customers.

Taking no chances

“Protect yuhself, mummy,” a vendor shouts while selling a mask.

Ever since news of the first confirmed coronavirus case in Jamaica began spreading on Tuesday, people have been rushing to stock up on protective gears.

And masks are selling like hot bread.

Although it’s been advised that healthy people should not be wearing masks and that they should be left for healthcare professionals and persons infected with the virus, Jamaicans are taking no chances.

People are also stocking up on protective gear.

Street vendors

Masks and gloves are in high demand, and street vendors are ensuring they satisfy these demands.

Over in Clock Tower Plaza, a pharmacy has run out of masks.

“Yuh nuh have no mask in stock,” a customer asked the general manager.

“No enuh, dem run out from yesterday, but mi a try get back dem back in now, along with some other things,” he responded.

The other things he has run out of are Vitamin C, zinc tablets, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol.

Alcohol is one of the only things left on shelves. (Photo: Shaquiel Brooks/BUZZ)

With it being common knowledge that coronavirus is more deadly to a weak immune system, people have been boosting up.


And when places run of disinfectants like Lysol, the alternative go just as quickly.

“Yesterday [Tuesday, March 10] after the news, a first mi see this place pack suh. Wi run out nuff things,” the manager told BUZZ.

At York Pharmacy in Half-Way Tree, supervisor Patsy Hamilton told us a similar story.

“We out of practically everything; Lysol, alcohol-based wipes, hand sanitizers,” she said, while showing us the empty shelves.

Up to yesterday [Tuesday] these shelves were packed with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.(Photo: Shaquiel Brooks/BUZZ)

“But we getting stock in this evening, we getting more vitamin C, dust mask, hand sanitizers, and wipes,” she said.

Restocking products

The supermarkets were one of the first places people rushed to on Tuesday following the news to stock up on food and disinfectant products.

But if you visited Brooklyn Supermarket on Wednesday then you’d only get food, and maybe you could pick up a few wipes. That’s it.

Wipes are one of the only disinfectant products left in supermarkets. (Photo: Shaquiel Brooks/BUZZ)

And as one security guard explained to us, this kind of crowd in the supermarket on a Wednesday morning is very unusual.

“This nuh normal at all, the amount people in here. From yesterday the place pack. We close at 9 p.m., but last night, up to 11 p.m. wi have still deh here because the place pack,” he said.

This kind of crowd is not usual on a Wednesday morning (Photo: Shaquiel Brooks/BUZZ)

However, manager, Cynthia Martin told BUZZ that they’ll be restocking on disinfectant products soon.