LONDON, ONT. -- Health experts say the risk of exposure to the coronavirus is low, but that reassurance appears to be falling on deaf ears.

In London and Middlesex County there are no cases of infection, and no one is under investigation for the coronavirus, yet medical masks continue to sellout at local stores.

Turner Drug Store on Grand Avenue in London says it ran out of n95 medical masks soon after the public became aware of the coronavirus.

The store has now been getting about 30 inquiries a day according to pharmacist Jeff Robb.

“We have not been able to get any masks from wholesale. I tried yesterday online at 10 different retailers and it was out of stock everywhere.”

He's not alone, but it's not just pharmacies selling out. The masks have also been selling quickly at hardware and home improvement stores.

Rob Borshell, who works in customer service at Tuckey Home Hardware in Wortley Village, says they noted an increase in interest in the masks late last week.

“We saw there was an increase in people coming, looking at them, sort of hemming and hawing and you could just tell they weren't using them for painting or for drywall or that kind of stuff. We cleaned out of those particular ones people are looking for and we've ordered more. Obviously there seems to be a demand.”

It seems some people who have managed to scoop them up aren’t wearing them properly anyway, according to Robb.

“You have to pinch it off at the nose. You have to make sure that the full jaw is covered, and they have to be fairly snug, especially around the nose. The other things to do, wash your hands as often as you can.”


A previous version of this story referred to the owner of Turner Drug Store as Jeff Turner. We regret the error.