A Cork pharmacy owner has reported a shift in consumer demand from clinical masks to reusable cotton masks and increased purchases of infrared thermometers.
As recommendations come into effect for people to wear face coverings in enclosed places, John Minihan, who owns Minihan’s pharmacy on Oliver Plunkett Street, said people’s attitudes are changing.
Mr Minihan said people are becoming more comfortable wearing face coverings and he expects that trend to continue following an advisory to wear them on public transport and in confined spaces, such as shops.
“There has been a constant uptake in the clinical masks, but in the last week or so, there has been a greater demand for the more permanent ones, the washable, reusable ones, and cotton or synthetic ones,” he said.
“They are more comfortable, they are a better fit.
“People are making their own too and I think we will see more of that.”
Mr Minihan said it was difficult at the moment for pharmacies to get the supply and demand balance right and it was a fair assumption that there would be pressure on the supply chain over the coming weeks.
“There was a fierce shortage for a while then there was an abundance, of varying types and varying quality.
“I think the same is going to happen here. I think there will be a push on the reusable, washable supply.
“People and employers are getting ready to go back to work and back into society.
“Employers are looking for things for their employees. We have had a number of calls looking for infrared thermometers, which are not being required as of yet in the Government guidelines but are likely to be required soon.
“It is a grey area, some employers are getting them and the idea is to record employees temperature every day, it is a precautionary measure.”
Mr Minihan said there are a number of brands to choose from.
“Some are cheap and cheerful, but I wouldn’t stand over them. My supply is from reputable suppliers.”
The demand for gloves, Mr Minihan said, has dissipated somewhat as people learned it is possible to carry the virus on the gloves from one place to another.
Pharmacies are constantly tweaking operational procedures and are currently operating a one-way system around the store to keep people safe.
“The public has adapted very quickly to the new way of doing things. They have been very self-disciplined, it is rare we have issues.”
Minihan’s Pharmacy has experienced challenging times over the lockdown, staying open in a closed city.
“It has been tricky these last few weeks, we would normally be dependent on passing trade. I have taken to delivering prescriptions because people don’t want to come into the city.
“Hopefully, from next week, things will pick up.”